by Richard Davies, floodlist
A combination of rain and melting snow and ice caused flooding in the Daugava river valley in Latvia from late March to mid-April 2023.
The local authority in the Augšdaugava Municipality in Latvia requested a state of emergency due to the flooding, especially in Bebrene, Dvieta, Kalkūne, Laucesa, Līksna, Nīcgale, Pilskalne, Sventa and Tabore parishes.
Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping was requested to provide maps of the flood extent to support the local authorities in managing the situation.
On 03 April, the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre (LVĜMC) reported levels of the Daugava near Vaikuļanii stood at 6.52 metres. Near Jersikas the river was 7.24 metres. Levels remained high for several days. On 10 April LVĜMC reported levels were starting to fall.
As of 12 April, Augšdaugava Municipality reported more than 200 households were affected, with estimated damages of at least one million euros. At one point a dam threatened to break in the Maļutki area, potentially flooding a further 150 houses.
Around 2,000 hectares of crops were flooded across Augšdaugava Municipality. Roads were damaged in 25 locations, which left at least 45 households isolated and only accessible by boat. Two families were evacuated.
The Latvian government later rejected Augšdaugava Municipality’s request for a state of emergency. However, the municipality plans to apply for other forms of government financial support for flood-affected communities. The municipality also said it is considering solutions to prevent flooding in the future, such as the construction of protective dams and the dredging of the Daugava river.
In early January this year, an ice jam along the Gauja River caused flooding in Ādaži in Latvia. Local government officials said 8 people were evacuated. The State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) assisted in evacuating the residents by boat. Some roads were closed in the area.
A few days later, ice floes along the Daugava river caused flooding in Jēkabpils municipality, from 12 January 2023. Emergency services rescued 18 people from floods on 15 January and some areas along the river were evacuated. Evacuees were able to return home the following day. Schools were closed in the area for several days.