Copenhagen: Praying for a Cloudburst

Posted on August 21, 2006



by sabine behrman

Climatic changes happen in Greenland – or so the Danes think. That is why Connie Hedegaard, minister for the environment, this week will take a group of international politicians – among them US senator John Mc Cain – on a guided tour to the world’s biggest island. She hopes that this will serve as an eye-opener to these decision makers (but since senator McCain won’t be US president before 2009 – if ever – this is all very slow going, and quite likely not the brightest strategy).

However, while Ms Hedegaard is busy packing her suitcase all of us who live in Denmark have been hit by a number of quite remarkable showers over the last week.

The average amount of rain for the month of August has been reached long ago – and many people have been faced by flooded cellars and all the unpleasantness that comes in the wake of these. One of them is the disinclination of the average insurance company to pay for the damage that has been done by the water.

However, there is a magic word that solves all the problems of at least some homeowners: cloudburst.

If the met office has forecast those the insurance company has to cough up.

So now – what with the rains not being over yet – concerned citizens rush to the phone whenever the weather forecasters on tv talk about "heavy rains", trying to plead with the meteorologists that they change their prediction to the magic word.

They’d all sleep more soundly through the precipitation if they knew for sure that the insurance will cover it.

Maybe a Danish insurance company ought to raise this subject with the current president of the US.