Austria faces continued drought this year

Austria faces continued drought this year and the European country’s agricultural sector is bracing itself for hot and dry weather in the weeks ahead.

The insurance group Hagelversicherung has said in a press release that winter crops and young plants in the northern and eastern parts of the European country are already affected by a widespread lack of rainfall.

In parts of the states of Lower Austria and Burgenland the rainfall in the past few weeks was only a quarter to half of the ten-year average.

Data showed that in 2018 the heat and lack of rainfall caused 230 million euros (256 million U.S. dollars) in damages to crops, with the potato farmers alone suffering a loss of 40 million euros (45 million U.S. dollars).

Hagelversicherung said that if the dry conditions in Austria continue to last in the next few weeks, the estimated losses could reach or top the 2018 level.

It blamed climate change for the longer periods of less rainfall.