Poland’s persistent rainy weather and melting snow cover led to a difficult hydrological situation in late January. Rising water levels in the country’s major rivers, including the Vistula and Bug, are resulting in serious flood threats. In which areas of Poland do high river levels cause the risk of flooding and waterlogging?
High river levels in Poland – threat of flooding
Currently, high water levels are being observed in many rivers in the country, and alarm levels have been exceeded on some of them. The most serious situation is on the Bug River. As a result, a flood alert has been declared in Wyszków County. Areas near the village of Młynarze (Zabrodzie municipality) were partially flooded. High water levels are also observed on the Vistula, Oder, Warta, Narew or Pilica.
The cause of the high levels in the rivers is snowmelt runoff from mountainous and foothill areas. In weeks we have seen heavy snowfall in the south of the country, which is now melting in many places. The situation was also not improved by rainfall, which not only accelerated the melting of snow, but also caused water levels in rivers to rise. Non-high positive temperatures are forecast in the coming days, which will promote further slow reduction of snow cover. There is a risk of movements of accumulated ice material on rivers, which can lead to the formation of blockages and local flooding.
Current hydrological situation in Poland – where are the high river levels?
Third-degree hydrological alerts, reporting surges exceeding alert levels, are currently in effect in the provinces:
- Mazovia (on the Bug River and the Pilica River from Sulejow Reservoir);
- Świętokrzyskie (on the Widawa River);
- Lublin (on the Krzna and Huczwa rivers).
On the other hand, second-level alerts, stating surges exceeding warning levels, are in effect in the provinces:
- Mazovia (the Vistula from the mouth of the Narew River to the Wloclawek Reservoir);
- Lublin (section of the Wieprz River from Nielisz reservoir to the mouth of the Bystrzyca River, section of the Bug River to the mouth of the Uherka River);
- Warmińsko-Mazurskie (Pasłęka River from Wałsza to the mouth);
- Podlaskie (Biebrza);
- Pomerania (Reda);
- Lubuskie (Odra from the mouth of the Barycz River to the mouth of the Beaver River, Lower Warta from the Notec River to the mouth);
- Lodz (Ner);
- West Pomeranian (Parsęta from the Radew River to the mouth).
High river levels – where is the situation critical?
On January 30 this year. On the Vistula at Wyszogród, the water level was 514 cm, significantly exceeding the warning level (500 cm). A similar situation occurred in Kepa Polska. In addition, a flood alert has also been declared for the cities and municipalities of Bodzanów, Gąbin, Mała Wieś, Słupno, Słubice and Nowy Duniów in Plock district. The latest hydrological forecasts indicate that the level of the Vistula River in this area could rise by another approx. 20-30 cm, which means that the river should not exceed the alarm levels there.
Also, the Bug River, due to heavy rainfall and snowmelt, has reached alarm levels, causing flooding in parts of the village of Młynarze in the province. mazowieckie. Currently, the water level in the area fluctuates. A blockage has additionally formed near Brok, so water from there may cause an additional 15-30 cm rise in level. According to IMGW-PIB, yesterday the water level on the Bug River at the height of the hydrological stations in Wyszków (538 centimeters) and Popowo (400 centimeters) was still above the alarm level. Alert states were also exceeded, among others. On the rivers: Obra in Bledzewo, Nida in Pinczow, Czarna in Januszewice, Widawa in Krzyzanowice and Sąsiecznica in Kanclerzowice.
High river levels – authorities’ response
In recent days, in response to the threat of flooding, a flood emergency has been declared in several cities and municipalities, especially in areas directly threatened. The deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Wieslaw Lesniakiewicz, visited the flood-affected areas, stressing the readiness of heavy equipment and the possibility of blowing up blockages on the Bug River. Importantly, local authorities and the Ministry of Interior have funds to help those affected and prevent further losses. This is important information for people whose belongings have been affected by flooding. In addition to homes, farmland has also been flooded, leading to agricultural losses. At present, it is difficult to estimate the full extent of the damage, especially in terms of future crops and food production.
Local flooding and waterlogging – how to prevent them?
Due to high water levels, emergency management services remain on standby. Waterways is monitoring the situation and cooperating with local authorities. There are also plans to carry out decongestion works on the Bug River to improve the flow and reduce the risk of flooding, as well as investments in the development of flood control infrastructure, including the construction of new protections and the modernization of existing ones.
The hydrological situation in Poland sends a clear signal that water management and flood protection issues require constant attention and appropriate action. In the face of climate change, both immediate initiatives and long-term strategies are needed to protect the population and infrastructure while caring for the environment.
Photo source: courtesy of TSO Zabrodzie Ksrg