World weather continued in an extremely unsettled state asrecord floods killed at least 34 people in Europe andTropical Storm Katrina promised to bring heavy rainfall toSouth Florida. Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain suffered recorddrought as fires consumed over a hundred thousand acres inPortugal and destroyed a hundred homes. The death toll fromthe European floods is expected to rise, because many peopleare missing, especially in Romania.
The flood area extends from Switzerland–where 300 residentshave been moved from threatened parts of the capital,Bern–across Austria and southern Germany and into easternEurope.
In Romania, more than 20,000 homes have been affected and 31people are confirmed dead, with more missing. The unusualstorm has turned idyllic alpine streams in Switzerland intomassive torrents, isolating towns and sweeping away roadsand rail lines. 700 tourists have been evacuated by air fromthe mountain resort of Engelberg, which has been cut offsince Monday.
In southern Europe, the opposite of rain is the problem. AsMumbai in India recorded massive rainfall last month andthis unusual weather system has brought flooding in areasnormally unaffected by floods, southern Europe has beenmaking its own records–for lack of rain.
More rain has fallen on Switzerland in the past few daysthan usually hits the area in six months. Meanwhile, inSpain and Portugal, a record drought has caused devastatingfires. While both the rains and the drought continue, thesituation in Portugal is somewhat better, with foggy, dampweather, but still no rain. More rain is expected in easternEurope, but nothing like the torrential downpours of thelast few days.
In Florida, a hurricane warning has been posted for thesouthern half of the state, as Tropical Storm Katrinastrengthened. It is expected to become a minor hurricane,with wind speeds up to 74 miles per hour, but to move slowlyas it crosses the state, possibly bringing major rainfalland flooding.
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