As the BBC reports, Germany is facing the worst of the weather so far with at least 100 confirmed dead, while others remain missing. “In the hour of need, our country stands together,” said German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a statement. “It’s important that we show solidarity for those from whom the flood has taken everything.” German chancellor Angela Merkel suggested that urgent action needs to be taken to fight climate change.
Per the Guardian, German town Erftstadt, which is 12 miles south of Cologne, was hit particularly bad. At least 1,905 residents were evacuated on Thursday as the region experienced record rainfall. Photos show that homes, cars, and bridges were uprooted by the sudden rise in extreme weather. 15 people believed to have been inside homes in the town are still being searched for, among others.
The floods have arrived the same week European Union leaders have come together to propose some of the biggest climate measures ever announced by leading nations. “Science tells us that with climate change we see more and more extreme weather phenomena that last longer,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. “It is the intensity and the length of these events where science tells us this is a clear indication of climate change and that this is something where it really, really shows the urgency to act.”
In just 12 hours, central Europe faced the same amount of rainfall usually expected over the course of two months, said Meteo-France forecaster Frederic Nathan, Bloomberg reports. Global warming tends to bring more extreme precipitations," he said. "We have seen five or six cold spells since the beginning of June, which is something quite rare for this time of the year that we have certainly not seen in recent times."
North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany weather station the Kall-Sistig recorded a terrifying 144.8 millimeters of rainfall over a recent 24-hour period this week, which breaks the previous record of 82.7 mm in 1947. Scientists and climate professionals have suggested that the surge in heavy rain is the result of a rapidly heating climate, and the world has already warmed by around 1.2c since the industrial era, BBC pointed out.
At least 20 people have died so far in Belgium, although Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned that the final toll could be far higher. “This could be most catastrophic flooding our country has ever seen,” he said. July 20 has been declared a national day of mourning in the country.