The EU Commission is alarmed: almost half of Europe is threatened by drought. Areas that already complained about drought in spring suffer further climate hardships in August. According to a report from Brussels, there is no sign of an improvement in autumn.
According to EU experts, the current drought in Europe is probably the worst for half a millennium. "The drought appears to be the worst in at least 500 years," said a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels. This is a first assessment by the European Drought Observatory, which has yet to be confirmed by the final data at the end of the season.
The report said the severe drought that has been affecting many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year has continued to spread and worsened since early August. It is related to a persistent lack of rainfall combined with a series of heat waves since May. This also affects the flow of rivers. The lower volume of water stored also has severe impacts on the energy sector, both for hydroelectric power generation and for power plant cooling systems.
In particular, the risk of drought has increased in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Hungary, northern Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Conditions have deteriorated the most in regions that were already affected by the drought in spring 2022, such as northern Italy, south-eastern France and some areas in Hungary and Romania. In the western Euro-Mediterranean region in particular, November is likely to be warmer and drier than usual.
The experts said the recent rainfall may have alleviated the drought in some regions of Europe. In some areas, however, the associated thunderstorms would have caused damage and casualties that might have limited the beneficial effects of precipitation again.