1997 Central European flood
|Fatalities||105-115 (55 in Poland, 50-60 in the Czech Republic)|
|Areas affected||Czech Republic, Poland, Germany|
The 1997 Central European flood or the 1997 Oder Flood of the Oder River and its tributaries in July 1997 affected Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, taking lives of 105-115 people (in Czech Republic and Poland) and causing material damages estimated at $4.5 billion (3.8 billion euros in the Czech Republic and Poland and 330 million euros in Germany). The flooding first begun in the Czech Republic, then spread to Poland and Germany. In Poland, where it was one of the most disastrous floods in the history of that country, it was named the Millennium Flood (Powódź tysiąclecia) although the term was also used in Germany (Jahrtausendflut). The flood has also been referred to as the Great Flood of 1997.
The cause of the precipitation was a Genoa low pressure system, which moved from northern Italy to Moravia and Poland. The unusual development occurred when the field of higher air pressure between the Azores Islands and Scandinavia was blocked. The center of the low pressure remained over southern Poland for a long period.
The precipitation was very high, at the level of 300–600 millimetres (12–24 in), and corresponded to several months average rainfall over a few days. The waters have risen 2–3 m above the previously recorded averages and were so high that they flooded over standing measurement poles. The heavy rains of that period in that region were among the largest rains in the recorded world's history. The reasons the flood was called the Millennium Flood was because the chances of such a flood were estimated at 0.1% chance a year.
Already on July 5 flooding begun in the Czech Republic, and on July 6 floods spread to Poland. Those early floods were flash floods, very rapid (water levels have risen by up to 4 meters in half a day). The first Polish flooded towns were around Głuchołazy, which were subsequently on July 7 visited by Polish Prime Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz. Soon, flooding spread from Chałupki to Racibórz. In Kłodzko several few hundred years old buildings (kamienica) have collapsed; on 8 July the flood reached Krapkowice. In the second stage of the flood, the flood wave was flowing down through Oder river, overwhelming successive towns on the river. On July 10 left-bank Opole was flooded. On July 12, Wrocław and Rybnik were flooded. Soon afterwards, Głogów was flooded. By the time the rising waters reached Polish-German border (the Oder-Neisse line), they have slowed, allowing more time for preparations; the damages were thus much lower.
|Location||Oder-km||Maximum water level
|Poland Racibórz Miedonia||55.5||1045||1997-07-09|
|Poland Ujście Nysy||180.5||768||1997-07-10|
|Poland Brzeg Dolny||284.7||970||1997-07-13 - 1997-07-14|
|Poland Malczyce||304.8||792||1997-07-14 - 1997-07-15|
|Poland Nowa Sól||429.8||681||1997-07-16|
|Germany Kietz||614.8||653||1997-07-27 - 1997-07-28|
|Poland Gozdowice||645.3||659||1997-07-31 - 1997-08-01|
| Germany Hohensaaten
Ostschleuse OP (Oderseite)
|Germany Schwedt Oderbrücke||690.6||886||1997-08-02|
| Germany Schwedt
Schleuse OP (Oderseite)
|697.0||840||1997-08-01 - 1997-08-02|
|Poland Widuchowa||701.8||760||1997-08-02 - 1997-08-03|
|Germany Gartz (Oder)||8,0||698||1997-08-01 - 1997-08-02|
The flood took lives of 105-115 people (55 in Poland, 50-60 in Czech Republic) and causing material damages estimated at $4.5 billion (3.8 billion euros in the Czech Republic and Poland and 330 million euros in Germany).
In Poland, it is estimated that 7,000 people lost all of their possessions. 9,000 private businesseses were affected, 680,000 houses were damaged or destroyed, as well as 843 schools (100 destroyed), 4,000 bridges (45 destroyed), 14,400 km of roads, 2,000 km of railways. In total, 665.835 hectares were affected in Poland (an estimated 2% of Polish total territory). The losses were estimated at 63 billion Polish zloties (or US$ 2.3-3.5 billion at the 1997 levels). The town of Kłodzko sustained damages equivalent to 50 years of its annual budget.
In the Czech Republic, there were 50 fatalities (another source gives 60). 2151 flats and 48 bridges were destroyed. 538 villages and towns were affected. The losses were estimated at 63 billion Czech korunas. The town of Troubky was most severely affected.
In Germany there were no fatalities.
Government responses in Czech Republic and Poland were criticized. The flood revealed various inadequacies in decision making and infrastructure, although the unprecedented magnitude of the disaster can be seen as a mitigating factor.
Numerous charities provided aid to those affected by the floods.
- Roman Konieczny. Paweł Madej. Małgorzata Siudak. Local Flood Hazard Reduction Plans in Poland - Problems and Perspectives. In Eve Gruntfest; John Handmer (2001). Coping with flash floods. Springer. pp. 91–. ISBN 978-0-7923-6826-7. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
- Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz. Summer 1997 Flood in Poland in Perspective. In Oleg Fedorovich Vasilʹev; M. V. Bolgov; E. J. Plate (2007). Extreme Hydrological Events: New Concepts for Security. Springer. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-1-4020-5740-3. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
- Martin Doring. The Politics of Nature: Constructing the German Reunification during the Great Odra Flood 1997 in Riyan J. G. van den Born; W. T. de Groot; Rob H. J. Lenders (2006). Visions of nature: a scientific exploration of people's implicit philosophies regarding nature in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-3-8258-9008-7. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
- K. Szamalek. The Great Flood of 1997 in Poland: The Truth and Myth. In Geoffrey E. Petts; C. Amoros (1996). Fluvial hydrosystems. Springer. pp. 67–. ISBN 978-0-412-37100-4. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
- (German) Studien und Tagungsberichte, Schriftenreihe des Landesumweltamtes Brandenburg. Band 16 - Das Sommerhochwasser an der Oder 1997 - Fachbeiträge anläßlich der Brandenburger Ökologietage II. Potsdam. Marz 1997
- (Polish) Przemysław Berg, Czy grozi nam powódź: Widmo Wielkiej Wody, Polityka, 21 lutego 2010
- (Polish) Zarządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 15 lipca 1997 r. w sprawie opuszczenia flagi państwowej Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. M.P. 1997 nr 42 poz. 423
- Studien und Tagungsberichte, Schriftenreihe des Landesumweltamtes Brandenburg. Band 16 - Das Sommerhochwasser an der Oder 1997 - Fachbeiträge anläßlich der Brandenburger Ökologietage II. Potsdam. Marz 1997
- (Polish) ZBIGNIEW W. KUNDZEWICZ, MACIEJ ZALEWSKI, ANDRZEJ KĘDZIORA, EDWARD PIERZGALSKI, Zagrożenia związane z wodą, NAUKA 4/2010 • 87-96
- Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz. Summer 1997 Flood in Poland in Perspective. In Oleg Fedorovich Vasilʹev; M. V. Bolgov; E. J. Plate (2007). Extreme Hydrological Events: New Concepts for Security. Springer. pp. 102–. ISBN 978-1-4020-5740-3. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Jaromir Riha. Dams and floods in the Czech Republic. In L. Berga (25 May 2006). Dams and Reservoirs, Societies and Environment in the 21st Century: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Dams in the Societies of the 21st Century, 22nd International Congress on Large Dams (ICOLD), Barcelona, Spain, 18 June 2006. Taylor & Francis. pp. 193–. ISBN 978-0-415-40423-5. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Jochen Schanze; Evzen Zeman; Jiri Marsalek (2006). Flood risk management: hazards, vulnerability and mitigation measures. Springer. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-1-4020-4597-4. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- (Polish) Jerzy Grela, Henryk Słota, Jan Zieliński (editors). 1999. Dorzecze Wisły. Monografia Powodzi lipiec 1997. Instytut Meteorologii i Gospodarki Wodnej. ISBN 83-85176-68-3
- Axel Bronstert (August 1999). Proceedings of the European Expert Meeting on the Oder Flood 1997: 18 May 1998, Potsdam, Germany : Ribamod concerted action. Office for Official Publications of the Euroopean Communities. ISBN 978-92-828-6073-1. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Wilhelm Kirch; Bettina Menne; Roberto Bertollini (13 September 2005). Extreme weather events and public health responses. Birkhäuser. pp. 202–. ISBN 978-3-540-24417-2. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Jeffrey K. Johnson (2009). American advertising in Poland: a study of cultural interactions since 1990. McFarland. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-0-7864-3797-9. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
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