Dealing With the New Normal in Weather Patterns

Recent flooding in Germany has left officials literally holding the bag. In the midst of the worst flooding in over 400 years, the German government found itself shorthanded when it came to sandbags. Luckily, Germany’s neighbors, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Denmark came to the country’s aid, providing 1.65 million sandbags, according to

Such weather conditions as those that struck Germany have been linked to global warming. While not unknown, these weather systems, known as blocking events, have been occurring 30 percent more often than similar events over the past millennium. In light of global climate change, what can crisis managers in countries around the world do to battle the new normal of damaging weather events?

One such area in which strides have been made in recent years includes ways of getting warnings out to the general public so they can prepare properly for incoming disasters, even if it means just getting out of the way in time. One such system utilized is called the Weather Information on Demand, or WIND, system. This system allows users to subscribe to it and configure it online to receive weather alerts either by text, fax, or email according to their postal code, geo-coordinates, or by country.

Also, to take into account the changing needs of the population as well as the scope of some disasters, a new system called KATWARN has also been developed. The system sends out warnings via text according to a person’s location. The main difference between the WIND and KATWARN systems lies in the fact that the former can also be used for non-weather-related incidents and events. Already in place with over 1 million subscribers across Europe, the system was not in effect in those countries affected the most by this year’s floods.

That seems to be the primary problem with newer technologies and systems. The frequency and timing of such events seem to outstrip the pacing of the implementation of such devices, usually coming too late to be of any assistance with whatever current crisis is going on. The only way to stop this from happening is for local and national governments to try and get ahead of this trend, hopefully saving many lives in the process.


For more information about how Europe is coping with weather pattern changes and disaster preparedness and warning systems, visit: