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Cyprus faced with direct effects of climatic change as unseasonal storms hit

Xinhua,June 03, 2018 Adjust font size:

NICOSIA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Parts of Cyprus were affected by violent thunderstorms for the sixth day in a row, which were the direct effects of climatic change, a scientist said on Friday.

"These unseasonal storms, but mostly their violent nature, are evidence of the effects of the climatic change caused by the Green House effect," said Cleanthis Nicolaides, the director of the Meteorological Service of Cyprus.

Early summer storms are not uncommon, but what is uncommon is their duration and violence, Nicolaides told the state radio.

He said storms usually hit areas at the center of the eastern Mediterranean island and also mountain regions in the west.

A spokesman of the Fire Brigade said help was requested by distressed drivers who were trapped on flooded roads on Friday in two cases at short distances west and north of Nicosia.

"Firemen helped some tourists and also locals who were in danger of drowning as they were swept by torrents at Orounda village," the spokesman said referring to a village 20 kilometers west of Nicosia.

Nicolaides said that the quantity of water brought by showers since the start of the week is huge.

"If we could direct it where we wanted it to go, we could fill all water storage dams in a single day," he added.

Cyprus has a total of 17 dams, but only four of them could be classified as big, above 20 million cubic meters. Their capacity totals 291 million cubic meters.

The storms, which usually come shortly after noon and last for two to four hours, were accompanied in some areas by hail, which destroyed fruit ready to be picked or at the stage of becoming ripe, such as cherries, peaches and apples.

Nicolaides said in the past that incidents of thick dust brought from the deserts of North Africa, which affected Cyprus for most of April and May, were also a result of the climatic change.

His service hosted an international conference on climatic change last week, which was told that Cyprus is faced with the desert effect: less winter rain water and the receding of vegetation to higher and higher altitudes, with low-lying areas becoming deserts.

"That is the reason we hosted the conference. Scientist had the opportunity to actually see the desert effect of climatic change," he said. Enditem