Source: Euronews Screenscap
Since last week’s floods that saw hundreds of people either dead or missing in the Asian nation of Sri Lanka, several other continents in very different parts of the world are suffering similar fates.
In North America, Texas’ famed Brazos River outside of Houston has risen to its highest point in more than a century, resulting in eight recorded fatalities thus far. Several residents have been issued evacuation orders, and property damage is approaching the seven-figure range.
The flooding is likely being caused by slow-moving thunderstorms, which could potentially produce up to ten more inches of rain in the coming weeks. Emergency operation centers are up and running as the storms are expected to bring danger to additional areas like Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. More than 100 boat rescues from buildings and cars alike have already taken place.
Meteorologist Kent Prochazka explained, “After all the rain we have had recently, the ground is saturated in a lot of places. It is just a muddy bog. If we put one to three inches of rainfall an hour on top of that, it is only going to aggravate flooding.”
Four-thousand miles away, France is undergoing similar problems. The River Seine is experiencing the same massive swelling as the Brazos. The water has climbed 15 feet beyond its natural height, and is spilling into the streets like raw sewage from a broken pipe. Landmarks ranging from the Orsay Museum to the Grand Palais are closing their doors as several evacuations are expected to occur in the coming weeks. Traffic has also been impacted by the flood waters, and several Paris railway stations have been temporarily shut down.
The Louvre, Paris’ renowned museum and home to Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is currently removing over 200,000 works of art from its premises. Curators are attempting to remove all pieces being stored in the museum’s basement, which has become vulnerable to leaks and water damage. Tourists have been turned away as the museum works to brace itself.
“It’s good that they are evacuating the paintings,” said Carlos Santiago, on vacation from Mexico. “It’s a shame that we couldn’t see them today, but it is right that they do these things.”
Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay mentioned that moving the art has been a tiring feat: “We evaluate the situation for all the [cultural] buildings nearly hour-by-hour… We don’t know yet the evolution of the level of the Seine River in Paris.”
Approximately 16 confirmed deaths have taken place in countries such as Germany, Romania and Belgium in just the last few days. Many others remain missing or unaccounted for.
Rains in Europe are the worst they’ve been in recent years. Between 1980 and 2010, heavy rainfall has increased in Europe by over 30 percent, according to a Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Study, and the culprit is none other than man-made climate change. Downpours of this magnitude are usually a tell-tale sign of global warming’s influence.
Gerald Meehl, a climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research said, “These increasing trends have already been measured, and are now affecting every storm that forms, including recent storms in France.”