Severe flooding in Balkans forces hundreds to evacuate

Severe flooding in Balkans forces hundreds to evacuate

Intense rainfall hit Albania, Serbia, and Montenegro two days ago, causing flooding and landslides across the affected regions. About 400 people were forced to leave their homes in Serbia and Montenegro alone while three deaths were reported in Albania due to weather-related incidents.

Heavy rainfalls have caused the rivers in Albania to swell. Several regions reported floods and landslides while Tirana observed more than 100 mm (3.93 inches) of precipitation in a 24 hour period. Flood waters were up to 50 cm (19.68 inches) deep on some roads, prompting road closures.

In a 24 hour period between November 7 and 8, 108 mm (4.25 inches) of rainfall was reported in Gjirokastra and 68 mm (2.68 inches) in Shkodra, Albania, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Between November 8 and 9, 104 mm (4.09 inches) was recorded in Tirana La Praka and 58.1 mm (2.29 inches) in Kukes.

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by the GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA/GPM

72-hr rainfall accumulation as observed by the GPM Core Observatory. Image credit: Google/NASA/JAXA/GPM

Several rivers in Albania overflowed, including the Mat river in Diber county, the Black River in Durres county, the Zme river in Lezhë county, and the river Bushtricë in Kukës county where landslides also caused road blockages at several locations.

Warning for heavy rainfall was issued on November 6, by the Albania's Meteorological Institute. Severe flooding and landslides were expected, and the situation was forecast to worsen by November 8.

The Interior Ministry has established emergency headquarters across the affected areas, urging the police, emergency, and other response teams to be on prepared and on full alert. People were advised to minimize their movement, especially of unaccompanied children. Schools and colleges were also closed down.

On November 8, Saimir Tahiri, the Interior Minister, stated that all safety precautions were put in action to ensure the safety of the people.

Flooding in Tirana, Albania, November 8, 2016. Image credit: Ledjan Kraja (via Severe Weather Europe)

Flooding in Tirana, Albania, November 8, 2016. Image credit: Ledjan Kraja (via Severe Weather Europe)

Flooding in Tirana, Albania, November 8, 2016. Image credit: Ledjan Kraja (via Severe Weather Europe)

According to European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Berane, Rozaje, and Petnjica municipalities in Montenegro have been affected by the heavy rainfall. About 400 people were evacuated in Berane alone while the rivers Ibar and Popca in Rozaje and Petnjica overflowed.

The areas of Sjenica, Novi Pazar, and Prokuplje, in Serbia, have reported flooding. Prokuplje was the most affected, following the Toplica river overflow.

Video credit: Sky Star News

In a 24 hour period between November 7 and 8, 67.5 mm (2.66 inches) of rainfall was recorded in Kopaonik, 56 mm (2.2 inches) in Krusevac, 62 mm (2.44 inches) in Nis, and 50.8 mm (2 inches) in Sjenica, Serbia, according to the WMO. In the period between November 8 and 9, 67.6 mm (2.66 inches) was reported in Leskovac, 69.5 mm (2.74 inches) in Vranje, 67.6 mm (2.66 inches) in Leskovac, and 69.5 mm (2.74 inches) in Vranj.

In Montenegro, between November 7 and 8, 56 mm (2.2 inches) was observed in Tivat, 54 mm (2.13 inches) in Podgorica-Grad, 55 mm (2.16 inches) in Bar, 72 mm (2.83 inches) in Niksic, and 68 mm (2.68 inches) in Podgorica/Golubovci.

Featured image: Flooding in Tirana, Albania, November 8, 2016.

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