Uma quinta estação do ano? | Nível avançado

Na Estônia, uma quinta estação do ano é ao mesmo tempo fascinante e assustadora.


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The country with a 5th season


Every year Estonia’s Soomaa National Park disappears underwater, in an unlikely season that creates an extraordinary sense of belonging among locals.


Photo featured in the original BBC article (see below)

In most places, a weather forecast that predicts heavy rain is a bad day, and a forecast that reports dangerous flash floods is one that no-one wants to hear. Except, that is, if you are a guide like Ruukel and you live in Soomaa National Park, in south-western Estonia, notorious for annual deluges that can be as alarming as 8km wide and 5m high.


Simply put, this is Estonia’s so-called “fifth season”, a predictably volatile period of weather that arrives after winter and before spring every year. No-one can pinpoint exactly on which day it’ll arrive, but this annual phenomenon does so without fail between March and April, bringing with it floods that turn the national park into a waterlogged basin of submerged houses, sunken apple orchards and raised bog islands.


In recent years, thousands of Estonians have discovered Soomaa’s magical watery highways, and today Ruukel runs Soomaa.com, an outdoors company with a fleet of 40 Canadian-style canoes for adventure tours and self-guided excursions.


With its stunted, skeletal trees, the haunting landscape can spook the visitor, but the fifth season is ultimately the result of a conflation of unlikely factors. Soomaa – meaning “land of bogs” – is located in a low-lying basin on the western slopes of the Sakala Uplands and its rivers cannot cope with the vast amount of snow that melts down the mountains after winter. The Navesti, Halliste, Raudna, Kopu, Toramaa and Lemmjogi rivers all congregate in Soomaa, but only the Navesti flows onwards and out to the Baltic Sea. The consequence is the creation of the Riisa flood zone, a natural basin covering 175 sq km that's regarded as the largest floodplain in Northern Europe.


Around 70 people – a mix of foresters and farmers – live permanently within the national park boundaries and all have learnt to put up with the annual deluge. The main roads are overrun, and half of the park’s residents become locked down for up to four weeks while the flood waters dissipate. And yet, it creates a sense of belonging that only someone with a true affinity for the fifth season can understand.


Adaptado de artigo da BBC. Você pode ler o original aqui.

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VOCABULARY


Flash flood (noun)

A flood that happens very quickly.


Deluge (noun)

A very heavy flood.


To pinpoint (verb)

To determine precisely.


Waterlogged (adjective)

Saturated with or full of water.


Basin (noun)

A natural depression on the earth's surface containing water.


Orchard (noun)

A field used to grow fruit trees.


Bog (noun)

Wet muddy ground too soft to support a heavy body.


Fleet (noun)

A large group of boats.


Stunted, to stunt (verb)

To prevent something from growing properly.


To spook (verb)

To scare, to make someone afraid or surprised.


Conflation (noun)

The merging of two or more sets of factors into one.


To cope (verb)

To live with, to accept.


Floodplain (noun)

A plain that usually floods.


Boundaries (noun)

Limits, frontiers, borders.


To overrun (verb)

To cover completely.

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