Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology

Short Reports

2020

Heavy rain/Storm February 2020 (Germany)

More than two days of continuous rain, which occasionally added up to more than 200 mm, led to rapidly swelling streams and rivers, especially in southern Germany. Many of them led to flooding. Several rivers in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria were flooded with a return period of between 2 and 10 years. However, there were no extreme floods on larger rivers. In some areas, streams and rivers overflowed or overflowed their banks and flooded adjacent properties, meadows and roads. Some road connections were disrupted, and the railway also ceased operation on the section between Perl and Trier, for example.

Responsible for the heavy rain was the continuous influx of mild and very humid air masses. A strong westerly to south-westerly current caused an effective humidity replenishment to Central Europe, which was particularly noticeable in the low mountain ranges and near the Alps, where precipitation increased. The first three days of February 2020 not only brought local precipitation records, but also new temperature records, and at the end of the weather period new wind records for the month of February occurred sporadically.

 

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Drought & Fire 2019/2020 (Australia)

In 2019, the Australian continent experienced its warmest and driest year since records began in 1910. The nationwide mean temperature of the year was 21.8°C, 1.52°C above the long-term average of the reference period 1961-1990, resulting in exceptional heat waves in January and December. In addition, January, February, March, April, July, October and December were already among the 10 warmest months since records began. The associated fires and their clouds of smoke caused extreme air pollution and dangerous concentrations of pollutants, for example along the coast of New South Wales and also in the greater Sydney area.

 

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Earthquake in Turkey (Doganyol, 24 January 2020)

Intensities reached VIII on the MMI scale – very well built structures received slight damage. Older buildings suffered great damage. There was also limited liquefaction. The damage seen corresponds to VIII and perhaps very isolated VIII-IX locations on the MMI scale.

The rapid loss estimation of CEDIM/CATDAT/Risklayer, gives a total damage value coming out to between 0.49 and 1.56 billion USD with a replacement cost (0.64 to 1.9 bn USD) in the order of 30 % of the provincial GDP (although damage does occur from outside Elazig). The exposed stock with some damage to earthquakes was calculated to be $30 bn+. Indirect losses and total macroeconomic effects are expected to increase this estimate.

 

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2019

Flooding in Venice 2019 (Italy)

In November 2019 Venice experienced the second largest flood since 1872. The world-famous St. Mark's Square was more than one meter high under water and also St. Mark's Cathedral badly suffered from the flood. During the autumn and winter months, flood events frequently occur in the lagoon city; however, there has never been a series of four consecutive extreme flood events within only 5 days before.

The flood was caused by the combined effect of the astronomical tide and an exceptionally strong southeasterly to easterly wind caused by an intense low pressure system over the central Mediterranean. This atmospheric pressure and tidal pattern occurred several times in a row within few days, pushing the water from the Adriatic into the Venice lagoon and the city's canals. According to initial estimates, the damage is in the hundreds of millions Euros, and the repair and restoration of houses and monuments will take a long time.

The MOSE system (mobile barriers for the protection of Venice from high tides) shall provide flood protection. The mobile barriers can close the three inlets which allows to separate temporary the lagoon from the sea in an event of high tide. The first construction work began in 2003, but MOSE is not expected to become operational before 2021.

 

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Exceptional severe thunderstorms with large hailstones June 2019 (Germany)

In the period from 10 to 12 June 2019, several severe thunderstorms associated with hail, heavy precipitation and severe wind gusts caused considerable damage to buildings, vehicles, infrastructure and agriculture in south-eastern and eastern Germany. On Pentecost Monday, 10 June, large hail with a diameter of up to 6 cm affected many suburbs of Munich and the districts of Freising, Dachau, Landsberg/Lech, Ammersee, Wörthsee and Kaufbeuren. Numerous trees fell by gusts up to 120 km/h,  railway traffic was severely restricted, and delays and flight cancellations also occurred at Munich Airport.

Over the next two days, numerous thunderstorms developed, especially in eastern Germany, some of which were accompanied by heavy rain and hail. Among other things, these caused severe disruptions in the metropolitan area of Berlin. On June 11, the Berlin-Buch station reported a total rainfall of 46.2 mm in one hour, with Ueckermünde in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania reporting heavy gusts of up to 89 km/h a little further northeast. On 12 June, a tornado was observed in Tauscha, Saxony, some 20 km north of Dresden, which caused considerable damage to 30 to 40 houses.

The Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft (GDV) estimated the loss amount for the three days one week after the event at 650 million euros. Although the losses did not reach the magnitude of the famous Munich hailstorm in 1984 or the storm episode in July 2013 with severe hail damage at Reutlingen and Wolfsburg, the event is still one of the ten hailstorms with the highest losses in the last 20 years.

 

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Heavy Rain (Germany)

Rainfall lasting more than two days, which occasionally reached more than 200 mm, especially in the center and south of Germany, led to rapidly swelling streams and rivers. Many of them were flooded and in East Hesse two levels of Fulda tributaries even reached new historic highs. On many rivers in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, floods occurred with a return period of between 2 and 10 years. However, there was no extreme flood on larger rivers.

In some areas streams and rivers came out or overflowed their banks and flooded adjacent properties, meadows and roads. Some road connections were interrupted and the railway between Murnau and Garmisch was also closed.

The heavy rainfall was caused by a low-pressure system with a center above eastern Central Europe; on the one hand, it transported moist and warm air masses in a wide curve from north to Germany, and on the other hand, the strong northern flow brought an effective moisture replenishment, which was particularly noticeable in the low mountain ranges and close to the Alps increasing precipitation.

The large rain deficit that has existed in Germany for many months was able to reduce, but not to eliminate it. In addition, rainfall was particularly low in the particularly dry regions in the north-east of the country.

 

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2018

Volcano-Tsunami Anak Krakatoa

The vulcano Anak Krakatoa is the successor volcano of the great Krakatoa which erupted in 1883. The volcano is known for its significant growth during the last decades. On Dec. 22nd, 2018, after a probable eruption of the volcano, parts of its South-Western flank slid into the ocean including an unknown underwater volume. This landslide triggered a tsunami which affected almost all coasts in the Sunda Strait within 30-50 min. Since the local time was in the early evening, the tsunami waves arrived at the coasts without great visual clues such as receding water leaving the people unprepared. In the province of Indonesia 'Lampung', the tsunami wave coincided with a high tide leading to an amplification. The wave pattern led to very local major inundations of up to 6m and 1-3m in a wider area.

Quickly after the flank collapse, the volcano continued with major eruptive activity for several weeks including various stronger exposions, leading to a significant loss of mass, reducing its height by about 220 m.

 

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Hurricane Florence (USA)

With FLORENCE, the sixth tropical system of the Atlantic hurricane season 2018 was named and became the third hurricane of the season and the first major hurricane of at least category 3 in 2018. FLORENCE was an unusally long-living storm and become a category 4 hurricane on 5 September 2018 and once again on 10 September 2018. Inbetween there was rapid weakening and re-intensification of the tropical system. The highest average wind speeds were 225 kph, gusts reached 269 kph, the lowest air pressure in the center was 939 hPa.
FLORENCE crossed the entire North Atlantic between 30 August 2018 and its landfall on 14 September 2018, covering a distance of more than 6,500 kilometers during those 16 days. The hurricane made landfall as a hurricane of the category 1 on 14 September 2018, 11:15 UTC, near Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina. While approaching and crossing the coastline FLORENCE became almost stationary. There was a rainfall of historic proportions across the Carolinas and FLORENCE produced widespread rain amounts, which led to catastrophic flooding. Both North and South Carolina registered a new record rainfall caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. A previously locally record-breaking wet summer with already saturated soils aggravated the flood situation. Several communities, including the city of Wilmington, were temporarily cut off. Storm surge, long-lasting river floods and other storm-related effects and consequences claimed more than 40 casualties.

 

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Earthquake Lombok (Indonesia)

The Lombok earthquake of August 2018 was a shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 Mw that struck the Indonesian island of Lombok on the morning of August 5, 2018. Much public and critical infrastructure damage occurred, and in addition there was damage to tourist facilities in various locations across Lombok especially on the western coast. It is still expected that the damage will be insignificant for the insurance industry.

 

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Storm Friederike (Western and Central Europe)

On 18th January 2018, on the same day of the week and date as Orkan "Kyrill" in 2007, hurricane "Friederike" swept over a broad strip of Benelux across Germany to Poland. The gusts reached hurricane strength down to the lowlands (138 km/h in Gera), on the Brocken in the Harz was 204 km/h and the nationwide record gusts during "Kyrill" (202 km/h, Wendelstein) was exceeded.

 

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2017

Excessive Indian Monsoon

Localized excessive rain amounts related to 2017 Indian summer monsoon led to devastating flooding in some parts of northern and north eastern India as well as in parts of Nepal and Bangla Desh. The death toll rose to more than 2000 people. Torrential rain made buildings collapsing and left part of cities underwater. Furthermore, vast areas of land were flooded in the state of Uttar Pradesh, thousands of villages were submerged and flooding affected millions of people.

However, overall averaged rain amounts for India didn’t show unusual values. Also the timing of the onset of the monsoon was pretty much what has to expected on average.

 

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Winterstorm 'Egon', Western and Central Europe

A strong frontal zone developed above the Atlantic Ocean at the 10th and 11th of January 2017. The resulting ground depression "Egon" moved, while strenghtening, from Brittany across Belgium to Lower Saxony in the morning of the 13th of January. The weather station on the Weinbiet in Rhineland-Palatinate measured a gust with 148 km/h. Besides strong wind, heavy snowfall on the northern part of the depression caused substantial traffic obstruction resulting in numerous accidents in the southern and central part of Germany. Storm and Snow caused damage to buildings, power lines and parking cars.

 

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2016

Amatrice Earthquake, Central Italy

On the 24th of August in 2016 an earthquake hit the regions Rieti and Ascoli Piceno in Italy at 01:36:32 UTC. The most impact was in Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara & Arquata del Tronto. The Epicenter was located at 42.704 latitude and 13.238 longitude. The Hypocenter was located at 4.2 km depth. The magnitude 6.0 (Mw) earthquake lasted for 15 seconds. The sad results of the disaster are 268 death, 400 severe injured, 4000+ sheltered homeless.

 

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2015

Extreme Rain Event, Central Europe

An extreme rain event in Central Europe from the 19th to the 21st of November in 2015 was caused by the low pressure systems "Iwan", "Kunibert" and "Jürgen". 150-200 mm of water fell within the 36 to 48-hour event (start around 11 UTC), which is extraordinary. Considering the 24 period (00 to 00 UTC), the Feldberg rain amount was a new record. Nevertheless, the enormous high rain amounts had only minor impacts because nearly all rivers in Bavaria, Baden - Württemberg and Switzerland were at low water before the rain event.

 

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Greece Earthquake

On the 17th of November in 2015 an earthquake hit the island Levkas in Greece at 07:10:09.1 UTC. The Epicenter was located at 38.66 latitude and 20.6 longitude. The Hypocenter was located at 10 km depth. The magnitude 6.4 (Mw) earthquake lasted for 50 seconds. In southern Lefkas Island, there have been 20 uninhabitable, 120 houses damaged, with one death coming from a collapsed stable. On Ithaka, 40 houses were damaged and on Kefalonia there were also reports of building damages.

 

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Chile Earthquake

On the 16th of September in 2015 an earthquake hit the regions Coquimbo and Valparaiso in Chile at 22:54:33 UTC. The Epicenter was located at -31.57 latitude and -71.65 longitude. The Hypocenter was located at a depth of 25 km. The magnitude 8.3 (Mw) earthquake lasted for 80 seconds. Based on news reports, there had been minor damage to buildings in various locations, landslides and tsunami inundation damage close to the epicenter.

 

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2013

Winterstorm 'Xaver', Germany/Denmark/Great Britain

Storm “Xaver” developed on 4th of December in 2013 in a zone of high horizontal temperature contrast between Newfoundland and Greenland. During continuous intensification, the storm moved further over Scotland to Southern Sweden on 5th -6th of December
Highest gust speeds were measured over Scotland (228 km/h; Aonach Mor, 1130 m) and over Germany (max: 185 km/h, Sylt).
Gale wind force from the north over a long-term period of > 24 hrs in connection with high astronomical tides due to new moon caused high water level at the Elbe River. In Hamburg, the water level (St. Pauli) was 4 m over the mean high water, which was near the historic flood event 1962.

 

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Philippines (Bohol) Earthquake

On the 15th of October in 2013 an Earthquake hit the islands Bohol and Cebu in the Philippines at 12:12:31 UTC. The Epicenter was located at 9.86 latitude and 124.07 longitude. The Hypocenter was located at a depth of 12 km. The magnitude 7.2 (Mw) earthquake lasted for 30 seconds. The counting of buildings destroyed has not been undertaken with only a few houses included in the current count of 10020 destroyed and 35621 damaged. Based on families displaced, this value could be up to at least 15000 destroyed.
There are currently 222 dead and 8 missing reported.

 

Bericht 6 (02.11.2013)
Bericht 5 (21.10.2013)
Bericht 4 (19.10.2013)
Bericht 3 (18.10.2013)

 

2012

Typhoon 'Saola', Philippines and Taiwan

Extensive flooding, landslides, more than 30 fatalities, many injuries, thousands of homeless people- this is the result (first estimation) of the tropical cyclone (TC) Saola that crossed first over the Philippines and afterwards over Taiwan in the period from 28th July to 3rd August 2012. TC Saola moved very slowly over Taiwan, leading to extreme precipitation totals in excess of 1000 mm in 48 h at some stations. The track of Saola including the huge precipitation totals were not properly predicted by the weather forecast models.

 

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