Storm Dennis: Severe weather conditions trigger flooding and power outages across northern Europe

Samuel Lovett
Getty

Storm Dennis is continuing to wreak havoc as it ventures beyond the UK and into northern Europe, with Germany, Estonia and a number of Scandinavian countries all affected by flooding, power outages and severe weather conditions.

In Trippstadt, Germany, seven people were injured on Monday when their vehicle collided with a tree that had fallen onto the road.

Two more people sustained injuries in similar circumstances in the northeastern city of Rostock, according to local media reports.

In Dortmund, a commuter train carrying 67 passengers crashed into a tree that had been brought down on the tracks by high winds. Nobody was reported as injured.

Hamburg’s famous fish market has also been flooded for the second time this month after the river Elbe, which runs through the city’s centre, burst its banks.

Further north, strong winds and heavy rain caused flooding, road closures and electricity outages across the Nordic and Baltic regions.

Some 1,200 households are reportedly without electricity in Estonia while more than half a dozen roads have been closed in Norway.

In Denmark, the southwestern city of Kolding was flooded following gale force winds and heavy downpours.

Emergency services in the city, on the eastern side of the Jutland peninsula, have been pumping out water from basements and using sand bags to try to contain the flooding.

Several ferry crossings between Denmark and Norway were halted because of the storm.

This is the second time in one week that Europe has been hit by intense winter storms which have brought torrential downpours – and experts are now warning that climate change is likely driving an increase in this phenomenon.

Research has shown that the conditions in a previous winter storm, Desmond in 2015, which brought very heavy rain to parts of the UK and caused widespread flooding, were made 40 per cent more likely due to climate change.

In the wake of storms Dennis and Ciara, Dr Michael Byrne, lecturer in climate science at the University of St Andrews and research fellow at the University of Oxford, says more water in the atmosphere is “an entirely inevitable consequence of climate change”.

“When you warm the planet, the atmosphere holds more water. In many parts of the world, including the UK, rising temperatures go hand in hand with more rain,” he told the PA news agency.

He said it is unclear whether climate change will strengthen or weaken the high winds in storms such as Ciara and Dennis, but “when the storms come there will be more rain associated with them”.

“These storms are nothing new, going back 100 years, but, because we are now more than 1C warmer as a whole versus pre-industrial times, every degree means 7 per cent more water in the atmosphere and more rain in these heavy rain events.

“When they come, they bring more rain, 100 per cent for certain, because of climate change.”

Additional reporting by PA

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