Kraków Flooding 2010

In May 2010, Kraków experienced the worst flooding (Powódź) for 160 years and some say in its history.

As we sit basking in the glorious May sunshine, it is hard to imagine that 6 years ago, in mid May 2010, Kraków experienced the worst flooding (Powódź) for 160 years and some say in its history. 

This video, captures ‘then and now’ with footage shot on 18th May 2010 compared with recent film of the same views, taken this month. 

(The film is low res and a little shaky in places, as it was shot on a small compact. To match the ‘feel’ of the original film, the recent footage was shot on an iphone at low res)

After rapid snow melt and 2 months of rainfall in 24 hours Poland suffered extensive flooding along the 1,047 km course of the Wisła (Vistula) River, affecting Małopolska and Kraków.


Kraków’s president declared a state of emergency, with the Dębnicki and Nowohucki bridges being closed as the flood water of the Wisła rose on 18th May.

The level of the Wisła passed the high water mark, rising to 300cm above the average flood level.  As the ‘Bulwary Wiślane’ riverside walkways were covered, reaching to the top of the sign posts, workers battled to place sand bags in support of the rivers more traditional stone bulwark flood defences.


In particular, there  was grave concern for the Father Bernatek Footbridge (Kładka Ojca Bernatka) which was under still under construction, nearing completion, tethered to the North bank of the Wisła.  Thanks to the efforts of a squad of city workers working in the perilous fast flowing swollen river, the bridge was made safe and work continued once the flood water subsided, ready for it’s opening in September 2010.


Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister at the time,  reported to the Polish parliament that the flooding was;

“the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history … without precedent in the past 160 years”

Floods are often devastating, and tragically the 2010 flooding resulted in loss of life and widespread destruction of property with a high cost to agriculture and the economy.

The cost of the floods

  • Across Poland 25 people lost their lives
  • 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes
  • 6,200 households flooded in Małopolska
  • Economic cost estimated at 2.5 billion euros
  • More than 8,000 hectares underwater

AGH have a selection of images showing the devastation caused by the flooding across Poland.

The image below (click here for high resolution) taken on 22nd May, 2010 by astronauts onboard the International Space Station, shows the scale of flooding along the Wisła, South of Sandomierz.

Astronaut photograph ISS023-E-50542 – Taken  22nd May 2010, Nikon D3S, 800 mm lens, by the ISS Crew



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