May 2013 Floods Summary

Below is a summary of the major floods from around the world during May 2013. As you would expect, spring time will bring floods to areas normally under ice and snow, and this was the case this year with floods in Norway and Alaska, for example. But there were also flash floods in warmer areas, such as Texas USA, mostly due to torrential rainfall. May 2013 was also significant for seeing floods in various European countries, most significantly France, Norway and Germany, but there were also floods in Sweden. At the time of writing (early June 2013) many European countries (especially Germany, Austria, Czech) are still threatened by the flooding which began during May 2013 and appears to be getting worse.

One woman was reported dead and another man (in a separate incident) missing when floods hit Germany. The flooding was a result of several days of heavy rainfall. The floods hit the northern German city of Hanover, but also other areas, including the states of Bavaria and Saxony. May proved to be just the beginning of the flooding in Germany and elsewhere in central Europe, and floods were to worsen in the first few days of early June.

USA – Galena, Alaska
The whole town of Galena in Alaska was evacuated after an ice blockage in the mighty Yukon river caused dramatic flooding in the town. The snow and ice was melting and river levels had risen. However, down river from Galena was an “S” bend that had caused an ice blockage, meaning the river waters, swollen by recent snow melt, had nowhere to go other than over the river banks and into the town.

alaska floods
The “S” Bend in the Yukon river which caused the ice blockage

In what seems like 3 years of constant rain, Colombia again suffered from flooding as a result. Over 26 and 27 May, 4,750 people were affected in Choco, 450 in Antioquia. 650 people were affected by floods in Valle del Cauca and Putumayo, and there weres damaged roads and bridges in Santander, isolating around. 1,000 families.

USA – Texas
Torrential rain caused severe flooding in Texas, especially around the San Antonio region. At least 3 people died as a result of the flooding. Nearly 40 cm of rain fell in some parts of the city during the night and early morning of May 25.

Heavy rainfall on Wednesday 22nd May resulted in huge floods in southern Norway. Floods were seen in Oppland, Buskerud, Telemark and Hedmark counties, with flooding also occurring in Akershus. Particualrly badly affected was the village of Kvam where 250 people were evacuated. Kvam is situated near the Gudbrandsdalslågen River. Eidsvoll’s Holt in Akershus County was also badly hit and 41 had to be evacuated from their homes.

floods Norway 2013
Floods in Norway, May 2013

In early May, China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was badly hit by flooding.

In mid May, southern China’s rainy season resulted in flooding in various provinces, including: Guizhou and Guangdong provinces. Between 14 and 16 May as many as 33 people were killed as a result of the floods. 19 of the 33 fatalities were in Guangdong. On 20th May torrential rain reached Fujian province where 500 people were trapped in their homes.

Flooding also hit northern China in May, as a result of rapidly melting snow especially China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where 4,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

Flooding continued in Somalia during May, 2013, with reports of 7 children dying and as many as 50,000 people displaced.

North East India
Areas of north east India, particularly West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh suffered from flooding after heavy rainfall from what was described as pre-monsoon rains. In Assam it is believed that 350 hectares of farmland was under water causing economic hardship for many farmers. Flash floods in the remote areas of Arunachal resulted in the deaths of 6 people.

Areas of southern and eastern Iraq had endured heavy rainfall since early May, resulting in flooding and landslides especially in the border regions. The heavy rain follows a period of significant drought. There were reports of the deaths of 4 people trapped in their home as it collapsed as a result of flooding.

France suffered from heavy rainfall over a period of about 5 or 6 days in early May 2013. Rivers levels rose dramatically, including River Ouche, Saône, Isère and Rhône.