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Drought Bulletin April 2023

The situation in Europe at the end of April still shows a significant portion of the eastern territories affected by long-term rainfall deficits, but a significant problem emerges in the western regions, particularly in Spain, where approximately 38% of the territory is affected by a prolonged drought caused not only by low precipitation but also by record temperatures. In the central-southern areas of the Iberian Peninsula, temperatures reached values of nearly 39°C during the last week of April, an all-time record for April throughout Europe. France is also experiencing prolonged drought conditions, as indicated by the French national geological survey, with 75% of underground water resources in April showing moderately to very low levels.

In Italy, the water levels of the major lakes in the north caused concern until April 20th when they began a slow rise, which, as of May 10th, brought Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lake Iseo above average values, while the filling level of Lake Garda remains low at 48.6%.

Following the rainfalls at the end of the month and especially the event at the beginning of May, the Po River experienced a peak flow along its entire course from west to east, which dissipated within a few days, although not at the levels of late April, still below average values for this time of the year.

Hydropower production in Northern Italy is increasing compared to last year and even to 2021, the worst year since 2016.

The rainfalls in the first days of May, where the precipitations were not extreme, and those expected at least until the middle of the month, should primarily benefit agriculture by increasing soil moisture and replenishing surface water reserves.

Next month’s Forecast: Regarding the temperatures for the summer trimester of June to August, European meteorological centres are mostly in agreement in predicting above-average values across Europe, particularly in the central-western and Mediterranean regions, with a probability ranging from 60% to 100%. As for rainfall, the trimester is expected to be wetter than average, especially in the Mediterranean and Western European regions. However, we should not forget that this is still the summer season, inherently characterised by low precipitation.

Read the full April 2023 Bulletin

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