It’s easy to say that in our area, this winter so far has been a relatively mild one. There was a snowstorm in October, another in late January, as well as a few light showers here and there. We have experienced higher than average temperatures all winter long, to the point where some days felt like spring or autumn. Despite the enjoyable weather conditions throughout the United States, this is not the case elsewhere in the world. While we’ve had such a mild winter, Europe has been experiencing one of its most severe and devastating winters in history.
From the United Kingdom, to Switzerland, down to Italy, and as far east as Bulgaria, incredible amounts of snow have fallen this winter. In addition to the snowfall, temperatures have plummeted to as low as -22 Fahrenheit in some areas. There have been well over 300 reported deaths from the extreme winter weather, and unfortunately more will most likely come, as winter is nowhere near over. In addition to people being trapped in their homes, many who can get out are unable to travel due to their vehicles and roads being frozen and snow covered, leading to many schools and other places being closed. Many are also without electricity, making the cold nearly inescapable. The problems are especially severe in small Eastern European villages. People have been suffering from weather-related sickness such as hypothermia and pneumonia, and the sickness and death numbers are just increasing as winter goes on. Earlier this week a dam broke in Bulgaria following rain and melting snow, causing flooding in its small villages. Rescue teams were having difficulties evacuating the residents because of the conditions complicating their efforts. This may just be a prelude to what is to soon come, as many fear that with more snow piling on what is already there, by winter’s end the rise in temperature will lead to rapid melting and tremendous flooding all across Europe
With winter only halfway over and no end in sight to the freezing temperatures and snowfall, it is hard to imagine what the final impact of this weather will cause in Europe. One can only hope that the weather settles down and the rest of the winter can be more like an average one. Unfortunately, this does not seem like the case.