Beginning of the vegetation season 2019 has been marked with the signals of drought appearing throughout the Danube region. The spring and the growing season started earlier than in 2018 and subsequent slowdown in vegetation development in areas with soil moisture anomaly indicates the potential start of water limitation.
The first hot spots with negative soil moisture anomaly developed already at the beginning of March, gradually intensifying and expanding over the southern and eastern part of the Danube region until beginning of April (SWI in southeastern Hungary, western Romania and northern Serbia ranged between -25 and -30%). In mid-April the situation improved due to significant precipitation but negative SWI anomaly started to develop in northeastern Hungary, eastern Slovakia and Czech Republic.
Soil Water Index (SWI), 7 April 2019
The situation in the countries confirms the data from Drought Watch:
Meteorological drought in Hungary started in February 2019 and the first quarter of the year (SPI3 in March) was the 10th driest period in Hungary since 1952. On 1st of April 2019 the Minister of Interior announced a prolonged drought in Hungary and as of this date the farmers can request water for irrigation preferentially.
In Czech Republic, winter was particularly poor in snow and precipitation in lowlands which in general prevented much of the underground water recharge. Currently over 320 reporters with 1023 reports from 68 districts are indicating lower than usual precipitation and in lowlands unusually low saturation of soil profile. Long term water deficit is causing concerns to fruit and grape growers. Accumulated drought since 2015 has been a primary cause (together with overall favorable weather conditions) of bark beetle gradation that is causing massive spruce die at many regions.
Learn more details about drought situation in the Danube region from our latest Regional drought situation review (January – April 2019) where you will find:
- Summary of the state of soil
- Summary of the impacts on vegetation
- Summary of the impact reports
- National drought reports
Click for the full report HERE.