Floods, drought and the consequences of extreme weather | DW Documentary

Floods, drought and the consequences of extreme weather | DW Documentary

Long periods of sunny weather; a few heavy rain showers. That’s all fine…or is it? With increasing frequency, summer days are turning into long periods of drought, while rainfall is causing catastrophic flooding.

Whereas weather systems were relatively moderate and predictable in recent centuries, now they appear to have been thrown off balance. What’s heading our way – and what can we do to protect ourselves?

29 May 2016 is a day Frank Harsch will never forget. The mayor was in his office at the town hall in Braunsbach near Schwäbisch Hall in southern Germany. The rain was coming down in buckets. Suddenly he felt the building vibrate. When he looked out of the window, he saw a wave of brown water crashing past, carrying cars and debris along with it.

A storm and a few hours of heavy rain was all it took to transform a village stream into a devastating monster wave. Suddenly, Braunsbach was a disaster zone. It’s a situation that’s becoming all too familiar. The opposite scenario is equally common, of late: heatwaves and droughts that last several months. Despite the many flood catastrophes of summer 2021, in many regions it’s simply too dry.

In other areas of Germany, trees are dying because moisture isn’t penetrating deep enough into the ground to reach the roots. Rainfall has decreased to such an extent in recent years that forestry workers have been forced to come up with new ways to direct water to where it’s most needed.
In the film, weather experts and climate researchers predict what the future may have in store for us. Their forecasts may be bleak, but there are solutions and initiatives in place to at least try and mitigate the effects of extreme weather events.

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