1997 Flooding of southern Poland

Major flooding took place during July, 1997, in southern Poland on the Odra and Vistula rivers and on many of their tributaries. These drainage basins have their headwaters in the Sudeten and Carpathian Mountains of southern Poland and adjacent countries--Czech Republic and Slovakia. Prolonged, heavy rains were generated by a stalled weather system that persisted for several weeks over the region.

Flooding on many streams and rivers was the greatest of the 20th century. Flood recurrence intervals on various streams are estimated in the 200-year to 500-year range. More than 200 bridges were washed away. Homes, vehicles, farms, and factories were completely destroyed in several locations. Fifty-five people died during floods, and many more suicides took place in the following weeks.

The floods of 1997 were an immediate economic and personal catastrophy for thousands of people in the effected regions of southern Poland. On the other hand, many Poles look on the optimistic side. The damaged areas will be reconstructed with modern building techniques and appropriate hydrologic designs for flood control and management of drainage basins. In the long run, safer living conditions and stronger economic activity will result.

Images of 1997 flooding in southwestern Poland
Urban damage City of Klodzko
Canal/factory damage Nysa River
Rural damage Village of Pilce

ES 341 © J.S. Aber (2005)
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