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Q&A: Europe's extreme weather

Q&A: Europe's extreme weather

LONDON, England (CNN) -- CNNI Weather Anchor Guillermo Arduino answers questions about the extreme weather seen in Europe this summer, culminating in the devastating floods in central and eastern Europe.

Q. How bad has the weather been in central and eastern Europe?

A. The amount of rain we have seen in these areas is significant, there is no doubt about it. These are the worst floods in 50 to 100 years. However, this does not necessarily mean these are the worst rains in the last century.

Q. So why is the flooding so severe?

A. What is probably happening here is that the earth is not able to absorb as much water as it used to -- due to what man is doing to the environment. There are fewer trees, and there is more pollution, and more dams.

This is also an El Nino year, and there are several theories that El Nino might be responsible, but very few people understand what is actually going on. Data shows that during El Nino years there are more flooding episodes and other severe weather phenomena. The effects of global warming are surely on display here.

Q. But doesn't somewhere in Europe get flooded every year?

A. Yes. The heavy rains are obviously associated with deep and slow moving systems that take a lot of time to go through a region and then the soil does not have enough time to absorb that rain, but you cannot ignore the environmental details I expressed above.

Q. What is the outlook for central and eastern Europe?

A. It will continue to rain especially in Eastern Germany, Austria, Slovakia all the way to Ukraine and Belarus. Conditions will improve in 24 hours or so, but the floods will not recede as fast.




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