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River Levels in Western Siberia Set to Peak Later Than Forecast Due to ‘Abnormal’ Flooding

The Tobol River in the city of Kurgan. Federal Press / TASS

Authorities in western Siberia’s Tyumen region said Tuesday that “abnormal” flooding has led to revised predictions for the anticipated peak water levels in the Tobol and Ishim rivers.

“Along the Tobol River, hydrologists have observed abnormal behavior. The water moves very slowly because it’s spilling over the floodplain,” Tyumen region Governor Alexander Moor said on social media. “Flood peaks are shifting [to] after May 6 [and] May 9-10.”

The Ishim River was expected to peak at 12.15 meters on Monday, but Moor said water levels had risen to 12.22 meters on Tuesday morning and continued to increase. 

“That’s 74 centimeters above the peak of 2017,” he said.

Later on Tuesday, the governor said the Ishim River was also expected to reach peak levels on May 5-6.

Authorities in the Tyumen region declared a state of emergency on April 8 due to the two swelling rivers, with mandatory evacuations ordered in two regional districts. Officials previously said the Ishim River would reach peak levels around April 23-25.

Since early April, Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan have been battling devastating floods that have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. 

Spring flooding caused by melting ice is common in some parts of Russia, but this year’s heavy rainfall, combined with unusually warm spring weather, has led to severe flooding in Russia’s Urals and western Siberia.

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