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3/31/2008

Spain: The Driest Winter in Living Memory

SPAIN's government on Friday unveiled new measures to relieve the impact of THE DRIEST WINTER IN MEMORY, including diverting water between regions to ensure supplies to 2.5 million people in the parched southeast. In addition to human consumption, Spain depends on water to irrigate crops and cut its heavy dependence on imported grain, as well as to boost hydroelectric output. The Mediterranean coast as a whole suffered THE DRIEST AUTUMN AND WINTER ON RECORD. In some regions of Spain, restrictions on water use have been in force for the past four years. Spain's power stations are down to 54.5 percent of capapcity from 77.1 percent this time last year.

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CYPRUS has been experiencing another mini-heatwave. It was a surprise for the time of year and in contrast to the much lower temperatures they've had in recent weeks. In addition, for several days there was an UNUSUAL dust storm which affected the whole island. "As I look out of the kitchen window, I can normally see a line in the distance beyond the fields quite clearly, dividing the sea from the sky, but last Tuesday, a holiday celebrating Greek National Day, all I could see was an indistinct grey blur, so that the sea just merged with the sky." That day 132 micrograms of dust was recorded in Pafos, 20 times the normal level. The hospitals were inundated with people suffering from the effects of higher than usual amounts of dust in the atmosphere.

The seasonal drought in the Aegean region
is turning into a yearly process. Ýzmir, Turkey, has experienced drought at serious levels twice since 1939: One occurred in 1992 and the other in 2007. “This form of drought is seen seasonally in the Aegean region. However, the drought this year tends to cover the whole year. Ýzmir's annual precipitation is mainly composed of rainfall between November and February. If rainfall intensity is low in these months, it will cause a water deficiency throughout the year. Some 60% decrease in rainfall has occurred in the region this year."
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