Extreme Weather Revision

  • Created by: Pippa_A
  • Created on: 17-03-16 17:27

European Heatwave 2003

When and where was the event?

  • The heatwave was in August 2003, however it began in June and carried through till August.
  • France and Germany were the two most affected countires. Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and parts of the UK were also affected.
  • The hottest date was the 10th August.

Causes of the heatwave...

  • Global warming
  • Stationary anti-cyclone, blocking cooler air from the Atlantic - sat there for 20 days.

How extreme were the temperatures compared to normal?

  • in France and Germany, the difference from the normal temperatures was 9degrees c higher.
  • 20-30% above the seasonal average temperature
  • Warmest summer on record.
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European Heatwave 2003


Social (+/-):

  •  - highest death toll in Europe in the past 60 years.
  •  - an estimated 30,000 people died
  •  - worst effected country = France - 14,082 deaths
  •  -  the heat also caused high death tolls in Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.
  •  - Elderly people were affected the most - 80% of victims were 75 years or older.
  •  + tourism increased.

Economic (+/-):

  • - total costs to the EU were 10 Billion Euros
  •  - shipping was suspended due to low river levels
  •  + ice cream and soft drink sales increased
  •  - nuclear power stations relied on water to cool - they shut down.
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European Heatwave 2003

Environmental (+/-):

  • - agriculture was badly affected - wheat yields fell by 20% in France, 13% in Italy and 12% in the UK.
  • - there were more than 25,000 wildfires around Europe - around 60,000 Ha of forest was destroyed.


Social: TV, News, the internet and newspapers informed the public on how to cope with the heat; drink plenty of water, wear cool clothing and stay in the shade.

Economic: France requested aid from the Euorpean Union, and alter working hours.

Environmental:Public water suplly shortages occured in several countries, which led to a temporary ban on hose pipes.

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Depressions and Anti-cyclones



  • Low pressure
  • Cloudy, wet and windy weather
  • Life cycle of 5-6 days (1-2 days over the UK)


  • High pressure
  • Clear, calm weather
  • frost in winter
  • dew on summer mornings
  • dry conditions
  • cloudless skies
  • fog in winter
  • may stay over the UK for a few weeks - stable
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The Boscastle Flood 2004

Where was the flood?

  • South West of England
  • Boscastle, on the North Cornish Coast

When did it take place?

  • The afternoon of Monday 16th August 2004
  • Antecedent rainfall began at 12pm

Who was affected?

  • 1000 residents and visitors
  • 100 people were airlifted to safety, including 6 firefighters
  • Business owners
  • Cornwall District Council?
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The Boscastle Flood 2004

Why did it happen? (The causes)

  • Not much interception from the steep valley slopes, quick/more surface run-off.
  • Rain is channeled through the village.
  • 11km wide storm at the topof the valley.
  • 1.1 billion litres of water came through the village.
  • Heavy rainfall in a short amount of time.
  • High antecedent rainfall throughout the early summer and into the first 2 weeks of August.
  • Small landslides in teh upperpart of the basin caused temporary blockages of the river, leading to a build up of water, whsich suddenly burst sending water down the valley - filled with debris.
  • "Coastal Convergance" - a patch of unstable moist air over the coast meeting in-land air moving out to sea.
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The Boscastle Flood 2004

What were the effects of the flood/aftermath?

  • No fatalities, one reported casualty - a broken thumb.
  • 4 footbridges along the valency valley were washed away.
  • A further 50 properties were flooded in Canworthy water, Bude, Helebridge and Crackington Haven with severe flooding.
  • 58 properties were flooded, 4 of them were demolished.
  • 7 helicopters airlifted 100 people (including 6 firefighters) to safety.
  • 29 out of the 31 Cornwall County firebrigade stations were involved in the incident - they remained in Boscastle for 7 days, assisting in the clean-up operation.
  • Around 1000 residents and visitors are believed to have been affected in this event - they witnessed the largest peacetime rescue in the history of mainalnd Britain.
  • The significant infrastructure damage to buildings and services - could cost North Cornwall District Council up to £2 million.
  • 90% of Boscastle's trade was effected. 
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