Siberia braces itself for snow melting

As a result of melting snow, partial flooding is expected in populated localities in Altai Territory (southern Siberia), in the south of Krasnoyarsk Territory and in the Republic of Khakassia (Eastern Siberia). In the steppe zone of the Tomsk region snow has begun to melt vigorously. Maximum snow cover remains in the basins of the rivers Ob, Tom and Yenisei. The pre-flood situation in Krasnoyarsk Territory is assessed as critical because of the snow cover, which is two times as deep as last year's, and thicker ice cover on small streams, some of which are frozen to the bottom. A second wave of flooding is expected in Krasnoyarsk Territory in the middle of April when large rivers open up. It may be that over 60 dikes and dams will be unable to contain the flood. In the Kemerovo region almost three times as much snow fell this year. Since the current weather is unusually warm, a swift rise in the river water levels, up to 2 metres, is expected. Three zones of putative flooding where live more than 500 people have already been determined in the city. In the Tomsk region 96 populated localities may find themselves flooded this spring. Given unfavourable weather conditions more than 70,000 people will have to be evacuated. In the Republic of Altai the far from simple flood situation is also explained by extensive snow cover. Ice on the rivers is as thick as 1.5 metres. The water level in the rivers may rise to 3 metres and more. In the republic of Khakassia a sharp rise in the daytime temperatures is expected soon (up to 15 degrees), which will also cause an intensive thawing of snow and a flooding of populated localities, above all in the foothill steppes In the Chita region, in view of intensive cold during the winter period, ice on the rivers is almost two metres thick. Most of the smaller rivers have been frozen to the bottom. The opening of the rivers may flood up to 75 square kilometres of territory, with a population of 13,000.

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