Sunday, May 18, 2014

Death Toll Rising in Epic Balkan Floods; Videos Show Havoc

The news continues to be grim coming from countries like Serbia and Bosnia as the worst flooding in those countries continues to devastate many towns and kill a rising number of people.
Homes in Bosnia overwhelmed by a mudlide
associated with record flooding this week.
Photo by Elvis Barukcic/Getty Images  

At last check, the death toll is about two dozen. It could rise substantially, according to some media reports.

Even worse, the flooding dislodged old land mines left over from wars in the region during the 1990s.

Rescuers or people returning to their wrecked property might encounter these mines, and that could raise the death and injury toll further.

The flooding was caused by an upper level low pressure system that was cut off from the normal west to east push of the jet stream.

That stalled system meant it could sit there, all the while drawing incredibly wet air into the Balkans. The storm also made the air rise, unleashing huge amounts of rain.

These systems, called cut off lows, are fairly common in the spring across much of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream is retreated to the north this time of year, leaving behind these lows like puddles remaining after a rain storm.

People await rescue from flooding in Serbia.
Photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters.  
With nothing to push the lows away - remember, the jet streatm has pulled away to the north -- the cut off lows produce days of rainy weather because they sit in pretty much the same spot for for several days.    

Sometimes, these lows cause relatively minor flooding. This one is different, as it was oriented to keep bringing in massive amounts of precipitation.

Also the climate is warming, and that tend to make heavy rainstorms even heavier.

No, you can't blame each weather disaster on global warming, so there's no smoking gun in the Balkans. But this kind of torrential rain and flood disaster is becoming more common across many areas of the globe.

Here are some videos that demonstrate the magnitute of this huge disaster;

A bridge collides with another bridge in Bosnia

Dramatic video of a house collapsing:

A Serbian soldier gets caught in the flooding:

Here's a report from Reuters:

A dog is rescued from flooding and debris:

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