German officials reacted with alarm when they found themselves not quite prepared last month for the worst flooding in 400 years. In mid-June, during the third week of the deluge, Germany found itself short of sandbags. Its neighbors -- the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Denmark -- quickly came to Germany's aid and provided 1.65 million empty sandbags.
According to a report in Der Speigel, government sources
would only talk about the crisis on condition of anonymity, as this kind
of shortfall -- call it poor planning or being caught out by an act of
God -- had simply never happened before. In Austria, more rain fell the
last days of May and first of June than usually falls in two months.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
National Climatic Data Center, May 2013 was the third-warmest May since
record-keeping began in 1880.
The widespread flooding of the past month in Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, and parts of Hungary and the Czech Republic has been some
of the worst in history. The situation was so dire in some places,
German local governments had to resort to extreme measures. Read More