Will Poland’s June storms protect us from summer drought?

burze w Polsce

The last week of May and the first weekend in June were marked by violent storms and heavy rainfall. Hail and even the formation of condensation funnels were observed in many parts of the country. Bielsko-Biala has been under water for the past 24 hours, and the situation in the south is getting more difficult. Will the thunderstorms in Poland continue in the coming days as well? How will this weather affect the hydrogeological situation?

Stormy weekend

This year’s Children’s Day was not conducive to outdoor events. According to the IMGW-PIB, 32.5 mm of rainfall was recorded in Miastko on Saturday, and on Sunday records for heavy rain fell in Sukowice (83.3 mm) and Poznań (41.4 mm). The cause of the situation was a low with a system of moving atmospheric fronts that spread over almost the entire country.

It was particularly stormy in Lower Silesia, Lesser Poland, Mazovia and Lublin, but convective cells also developed over Pomerania and Greater Poland. Condensation funnels were also observed in Podlasie and Mazovia, which fortunately did not reach the ground. In Poznan, gardeners were hit by hail up to 2 cm in diameter.

Past storms in Poland have already translated into flood risks. On Monday, June 3, the Hydrological Forecast Office in Wroclaw issued a hydrological warning of the 3rd degree due to the exceeding of alarm levels in the upper Barycz River basin. IMGW-PIB also warns that local exceedances of warning levels may occur in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Wodne Sprawy 11 2024 88
pic. On the Swietokrzyska Road/White Roads

Dramatic news from Bielsko-Biala

Today, the flood situation in the Silesian region has rapidly deteriorated. In Bielsko-Biala, 127.4 mm of rain fell in 24 hours, and the nearby Wapienica station recorded a record 148.4 mm of rainfall. Streets in the city are impassable in many places, and cars are flooded up to the roof, with water levels reaching up to 1 meter. There was also flooding of buildings, including the National Archives, and paralysis of the bus depot. Some train services have also been halted due to high water levels and fallen trees.

The situation is also dramatic in Bielsk district, where two kindergartens had to close due to river flooding. Alarm levels were exceeded on the Olza, Wapienica, Ilownica and Oder rivers. The Wapienica River recorded its highest water level to date at 595 cm – that’s as much as 15 cm more than the historical maximum. In an interview with TVN24, National Fire Service Headquarters spokesman Karol Kierzkowski reported 900 reports from across the country. Fifty firefighting units have been working in the Bielsko-Biała and Bielsko-Biała districts since morning.

IMGW-PIB warns that flash floods are also appearing in Małopolska in the coming hours. Torrential thunderstorms are also expected in the Subcarpathian, Lublin and Swietokrzyskie regions.

Wodne Sprawy 11 2024 89
pic. On the Swietokrzyska Road/White Roads

Are we facing further storms in Poland?

The forecast for the current week predicts a partial change in the weather. After a stormy Monday and Tuesday, when the southern and eastern parts of the country will be under the influence of a low from Hungary, polar air from the north will arrive in Poland. Thus, starting Wednesday, a cooling is predicted, which will be most noticeable at the seaside and in the mountains – the temperature here will drop to as low as 14-17°C.

Today, IMGW-PIB is forecasting intense thunderstorms in central and southern Poland. Local hailstones and rainfall of up to 40 mm with wind gusts of up to 60 km/h are expected. We won’t see much sunshine in the next few days, and moderate to heavy cloud cover may be accompanied by fleeting rainfall and daily thunderstorms, which are likely to stay with us minimally until Sunday. They may be accompanied by wind gusts of up to 80 km/h. Heavy rainfall is expected on Saturday.

Hydrogeological forecast for summer 2024

For the time being, thunderstorms in Poland threaten local flooding, mainly observed in cities. However, this does not change the fact that water is scarce in many rivers. According to a communiqué dated dn. On June 3, low water levels were observed at almost half of the hydrological stations located in the Vistula, Coastal, Pregolese and Nemunas basins, as well as the southern part of the Oder River basin area. At 17 stations, flows were below the average low flow of the multi-year period.

Published by the National Geological Institute Forecast of the impact of changes in the location of the water table, groundwater resources and risks on water management in the catchments for the period 1.06-31.08.2024 . indicates that a hydrogeological low may develop in July and August in the southern and eastern parts of the country. In June, the shallow groundwater table will be below the low warning level only in selected locations.

The forecast is particularly unfavorable for observation points located in Brwinów in Mazowieckie Voivodeship, Stary Wielislaw in Lower Silesia Voivodeship, Radomierowice in Opolskie Voivodeship, Lubocz in Lodz Voivodeship, Podlesie in Silesia Voivodeship, Skarbek in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Koszarsk in Lubelskie Voivodeship, Piwniczna-Zdrój in Malopolskie Voivodeship and Brzostek in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. In the event of the development of a less favorable scenario for water management in July in the southern part of the Lower Silesian, Silesian and Lesser Poland provinces, water reserves may be completely depleted. In August, the hydrogeological low is likely to increase in scope and affect the central part of the country as well.

Recall that the long-term weather forecast for summer issued by IMGW-PIB predicts higher than average temperatures with a high possibility of hot weather. Rainfall totals, on the other hand, are not expected to exceed the norm, suggesting a risk of drought. Thus, however violent the current storms in Poland appear to be, in the long term they do not change the negative hydrological trend associated with the low level of water resources in the country.

Photo. main: courtesy of Na Droga Swietokrzyska/Bielskie Drogi

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