This is currently the end of the road where the village of Planina and Planinsko polje, the plain that bears its name, converge. If you weren’t familiar with the area, you’d think you were standing at the edge of small boat launch on the shore of calm lake.
The plain, about 5km (2.6mi) long and 2.5km (1.3mi) across, often floods, but is rarely this inundated. Heavy rain last month, coupled with a sudden thaw of snow and ice have led to record high water levels in this area just north of Postojna, or about 45 kilometers southwest of the capital Ljubljana, forcing the evacuation of more than 50 homes in the village. In some areas here the water was up to 18m (60ft) deep.
Flooding has been a regular staple of the news throughout Slovenia the winter, but the hardest hit were pockets in the country’s western half. This battle against rising water in Planina came just two weeks after an ice storm wreaked havoc in the region, ultimately causing an estimated €500 million (US$693 million) in damage.
Floods are increasingly becoming an alarming and expensive problem throughout Europe.
According to a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, the annual costs from flood damage in Europe are set to rise from €4.9 billion to €23 billion by 2050, a near fivefold increase.
The study, conducted by research teams at the University of Amsterdam and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, also found that frequency of destructive floods could nearly double in that period. Two-thirds of the losses will come from increased wealth and development expected during that period, with the other third attributed to climate change and changes in rainfall patterns on the continent.
From Climate News Network reporter Tim Radford’s summary of the study:
From 2000 to 2012, floods in European Union countries averaged €4.9 billion ($6.8 billion) a year in losses. In the floods of June 2013, losses tipped €12 billion ($16.6 billion) in nine countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The annual average losses could increase to €23.5 billion ($32.4 billion) by 2050.
Unprecedented floods like those of 2013 occur on average once every 16 years now. By 2050, the probability will have increased to once every 10 years.
Damian Carrington also reported on the study in The Guardian, focusing on the projected economic losses, the lack of insurance in place and the return on investment improved flood defenses would bring.
Ten more shots from Planina are below.
All images (c) Bob Ramsak 2014. All rights reserved.
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