Severe storms and droughts ravage parts of Europe and Asia


William Brangham:

In cities across France, patches of rain and hail are pounding the streets, trees are uprooted in backyards, and people are wading through stormwater overflowing onto sidewalks.

These extreme events, which climatologists say are increasingly driven by global warming, are spreading more and more. In Germany, it is the opposite. Extreme drought has shrunk some of the country’s major rivers, speeding up cargo traffic, as ships struggle to navigate increasingly narrow channels.

New satellite images show the before and after of an almost dry Rhine. The storms that flood France are expected in the coming days. And while these rains could help the Rhine, they have already claimed the lives of seven people in France and Italy; Winds of 140 miles per hour battered the island of Corsica just off the coasts of these two nations.

While experts say the storms are something of a reprieve from the drought, that volume is too much to handle.

Eric Sauquet, National Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (via translator): We were expecting precipitation, but not with as much intensity.


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