A severe storm that swept over parts of Croatia and Serbia on Saturday and Sunday, September 17, 2017, killed 8 people and injured at least 140 as it reached western Romania late Sunday. Most of those who died were hit by falling trees or flying objects.
According to local media, winds reached speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph), bringing down hundreds of trees, electricity poles, overturning vehicles and damaging houses.
The most affected areas were Timis and Arad counties, where six people lost their lives. A woman died after being hit by the branches of a tree at the city zoo in Timisoara. Another man lost his life after a billboard fell on his car. Two people were also killed in Bistrita-Nasaud county, in Northern Romania. One of them was hit by a tree in the city’s park, according to Romania Insider.
The AP reported that more 200 towns and villages were affected by Sunday's sudden storm. Some 40 schools were closed Monday after the storm ravaged their buildings.
President Klaus Iohannis criticized authorities for failing to raise the alarm and urged the government to “urgently implement a rapid warning system” for people in emergency situations, saying Sunday’s storm had shown the “the vulnerability and inefficiency” of the current system.
The storm followed several days of high temperatures, VOA reported, adding that temperatures were above 30 °C (86 °F) on Sunday.
In Serbia, a man was reported missing on his boat on the Danube River near Belgrade and six people, including a five-year-old child, were injured by falling trees. Arcing from power lines, caused by the high winds, triggered several wildfires.
In Croatia, flooding brought traffic to a standstill in several coastal towns.
Featured image: Severe downburst in Timisoara, Timis, Romania on September 17, 2017. Credit: Dan Serafin via Cyclone of Rhodes