bneGREEN: Deadly storms hit Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Brazil as climate change worsens weather

bneGREEN: Deadly storms hit Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Brazil as climate change worsens weather
Storm Daniel has pummelled the Balkans, killing at least 11 people as of the morning of 6 June. / European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-3 imagery
By Roberta Harrington in Los Angeles September 6, 2023

Europe is being swamped by torrential rain, deadly floods and heat in an autumn climate emergency that follows a summer of wildfires in Greece. Brazil has also lost at least 27 people in a cyclone.

Extreme weather pummelled Spain this last weekend with a deluge of rain, and Storm Daniel is now centred on Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. Some reports say that 14 people had died in the eastern Mediterranean as of Wednesday evening.

Forecasters say that in some areas of the eastern Mediterranean the storm will have precipitated a staggering total of 50-76 centimetres of rain by the end of Wednesday.

This comes as Tropical Storm Lee is rapidly intensifying to the east of the Caribbean – it is expected to become a hurricane by this coming weekend – and a prediction that heavy rain may continue in southern Brazil.

Meteorologists said that almost 28 cm of rain fell in 24 hours in parts of Brazil on Monday.

Most climatologists say that such extreme weather will become more common with climate change.

At issue in Europe is that a heat dome is currently settled in above the south of the continent, with the severe flooding in Spain to the west and record precipitation to the east, especially so far in Greece.

Over the weekend Spain saw record rainfall that killed at least three people, shut down metros, made driving hazardous, and led to helicopter rescues from roofs. Giant hailstones were reported in the west.

Within hours, Greece was being flooded with what could be the worst rainstorm in the country's history and more than a year's worth of rain. Videos on social media showed cars washed out to sea, a tornado, and streets that looked like dirty brown rivers, especially in the port city of Volos.

In mid-August, wildfires in Greece killed at least 20 people, with one fire said to be the largest ever in the EU.

Record temperatures have also been recorded this week to the north, in France and the UK. Temperatures have soared to 35 degrees in some places in France. Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland were expecting highs later in the week, said the Washington Post.

Hail was recorded in the south-west German city of Reutlingen, with drifts of more than 30 cm and with snow-ploughs having to be deployed.

The cyclone of heavy rain and high winds that hit southern Brazil – starting on Monday night, 4 September – mostly hit the state of Rio Grande do Sul. More rainfall may occur, said the National Institute of Meteorology, and therefore more flooding.  

Deadly storms do seem to be becoming are common. In February more than 40 people in Brazil died in flooding and landslides near São Paulo.

Climate change makes extremes more likely.