Despite heavy snowfalls, Ukraine should not expect strong floods, meteorologists say.

There may be floods on right-bank territories of Ukraine but of average level, and the probability of that settlements will be devastated is very small. South and southeastern regions face no threat, as earth has almost thawed, and even sudden warming will not cause freshet.
At the same time, experts call to focus on social aspects of flooding processes. First of all, the matter concerns proper maintenance of rivers, even the smallest, including prevention of littering of streambeds, as it may cause negative consequences.

Winter spring

According to director of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center Mykola Kulbida, this year spring will begin according to the calendar. "Due to the forecast, the warm spell is expected on February 28 and March 1. So calendar spring will come together with natural, and the warming will be felt." The forecasters also predict cold weather in the period from February 18 to 24. According to Kulbida, the minimum day temperature in Ukraine will be -6 degrees and the maximum - about 0 degree.

Anyway, the cold weather will remain until March, thus serious floods due to melting of snow are not expected. "Anyway, spring floods happen in Ukraine every year. It is a characteristic of our rivers," Victoria Boiko, head of the forecast department of the Center, added.

Flood geography

The most vulnerable territories are western regions of Ukraine, while south and southeastern regions have nothing to fear. "Snow cover on these territories is not thick, thus traditional spring floods will not bring troubles. No emergencies are expected on Crimean rivers, as there is no snow at all there. Only Pripet basin may cause complications, like flooding of backwaters or riverside territories, including some settlements. These are the territories of Rivne, Volyn and partially Zhytomyr regions. On other rivers, spring floods will be within the norm," Victoria Boiko noted.

According to her, the situation will depend on the level of coming precipitations. Thus, the situation on Zakarpattya rivers may worsen only in case of heavy rains. "Separate floods coming from Dniester side stream may happen in Lviv, Ivano-Fransivsk, Ternopil and Khmelnitski regions, but only in case of intensive snow melting," she added.

The largest snow cover is now on the territories of South Bug and Dniester side streams (the above-mentioned regions). Thus, there is a probability of water rise on small rivers, condition of which is not always the best. In general, the expert notes that devastating floods of 2008, especially in Zakarpattya, are not expected this season.  

The State Emergency Service rules out the possibility of flooding in Kyiv. "There will be no underflooding in Kyiv. One of the main rivers, Dnipro, flows through Kyiv. This river is regulated, so we do not expect any negative impact," he said.

In turn, director of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center Mykola Kulbida noted that the maximum level of the spring flood in Kyiv this year would be 600-640 cm above the conventional zero, while the average spring level makes up to 715 cm.

Whatever happens, Victoria Boichenko says that the flooding progress cannot be artificially changed. "If snow melts fast and water rises, we cannot do anything. We cannot send the snow in different direction. We can count only on reservoirs and dams."

All systems go

While meteorologists announce forecasts, emergencies services are getting ready to meet the nature. According to the head of the State Service for Emergency Situations Mykhailo Bolotskih, the department is ready to counteract the unpredictable weather conditions. Moreover, according to the decision of the government, the interdepartmental operational headquarters headed by vice Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul have developed an action plan in case of emergency.

At the same time, the official admits there are certain problems with the preparation. "Local authorities do make a good job on cleaning river streambeds and drain systems and proper maintenance of river developments.  In the near future the government will form special groups to monitor the situation. There are no reasons for panic," he underlined.

Ecologists also point out the problem of frequent floods happening lately. "Earlier it was once in hundred years. Nowadays, floods happen every 5-7 years. Speaking about Danube and Zakarpattya, the problem is in poor management. The rivers are littered with rubbish. Moreover, people dare to build houses and buildings right on backwaters," Yaroslav Movchan, chairman of the National ecological center of Ukraine, said.

Bolotskih also added that the service had made calculations and set order of actions on protection of river developments on Dnipro cascade, dams and power generation equipment of the water power plant. Moreover, first deputy head of the State Service for Emergency Situations Serhiy Danyliuk declared recently that spring floods do not pose a threat to the Kyiv water power plant. "According to the latest data, Dnipro cascade has 6.7 million cu m of headspace and Dniester reservoir has almost 0.5 million cu m. This is enough to keep floodwaters," he noted.

Well, let's hope the nature will not make adjustments to the men's plans, and relevant structure will be able to meet the challenge in time.


In case of emergency, the plan of accident free flood discharge and ice movement provides for possible involvement of 42470 men of Emergencies Ministry's manpower, 5032 units of equipment, 833 stream crossing devices, 90 pyrotechnic teams, 14 different-purpose flight units.

Tetyana Matsur


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