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News > Italy

Heavy Rainfall Causes Floods Across Central Europe

  • Scene in an Italian city, May 17, 2023.

    Scene in an Italian city, May 17, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @GulfInsider

Published 17 May 2023
Opinion

Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Bosnia & Herzegovina are experiencing heavy rainfalls and floods.

Heavy rainfall from last Friday has caused widespread floods in Croatia, triggering the declaration of a state of emergency in the country's central and southeastern areas of Karlovac and Kostajnica.

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Meanwhile, heavy rainfall has also triggered flood warnings or caused flooding and damages across Central Europe.

STATE OF EMERGENCY

Heavy rainfall has led to a sharp rise of the water levels of the Kupa River and Korana River in the Karlovac area, where a state of emergency was declared. The situation is likewise critical in the area of Kostajnica, a small town on the Croatian-Bosnian border where the heavy rain caused the River Una to overflow its banks.

Temporary flood barriers and sandbags have been installed along various rivers, including the Kupa River in Karlovac and the Una River in Kostajnica, in efforts to control the rising waters, anticipated to reach their peak levels on Wednesday.

"What affects us are the heavy downpours. All forces are on the ground. They worked all night, and the pumps did not stop," Dalibor Bisca, mayor of Kostajnica, told the local radio station "In the First Network."

Meanwhile, the situation in Varazdin County in northern Croatia is also at risk as houses and roads are flooded, and some roads are closed due to the floods. In the Zadar area in western Croatia, heavy rain caused a record-high water level of the River Zrmanja on Monday, flooding towns and villages.

According to Croatia's State Hydrometeorological Institute, a total of 256.4 mm of rain fell per square meter on Monday in Gracac in Zadar County, the highest since records began in 1960.

In face of heavy damages of flooded fields, homes and closed roads, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic promised on Tuesday that the government would provide all necessary funding and aid to the floods-devastated areas.

"We must be prepared for heavy floods, urban floods. Everyone will have to contribute," Davor Bozinovic, Croatian minister of the interior told reporters as he visited the flooded parts of northern Croatia on Wednesday.

ACROSS CENTRAL EUROPE

Croatia's neighbors, including Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), are also experiencing heavy rainfalls and floods.

Due to the heavy rainfall and the high level of water in Slovenian rivers, the Geological Survey of Slovenia has warned of flooding as well as the increased probability of landslides, especially in the eastern part of the country.

The floods, caused by the overflow of the rivers Krka, Pesnica and Scavnica in Slovenia, could even flood on a larger scale as heavy rain was expected to continue on Wednesday, said the Geological Survey of Slovenia. Meanwhile, situations in Austria and BiH are similar as heavy rainfalls have caused flooding and damages.

In Italy, the recent spell of wet and stormy weather has shown no sign of letting up this week and could last until the end of the month, if not beyond, bringing heavy rain and possible floods, according to local meteorologists.

Italy has already experienced 89 storms so far in the first half of May, causing damages to crops, according to the farmer's association Coldiretti. Recent forecasts indicate that torrential rain could fall in parts of Italy and bring the risk of flash floods.

Heavy rainfall has also been forecast across parts of Central Europe through at least Wednesday and the affected area includes much of Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, parts of southern Germany, and central and eastern Switzerland, as the meteorological agencies of the respective countries have issued orange rainfall warnings for these areas.

European meteorologists have warned that the impact of climate change, which brings extreme weather including heavy rainfall and flooding, will become more frequent in the future.

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