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Storm Daniel: At least eight killed across Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria


Storm Daniel: At least eight killed across Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria

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At least eight people have died and several remain missing across Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria as torrential rain and severe flooding batter southern Europe.

Flooding has claimed at least three lives in mainland Greece, two in northwestern Turkey and left at least three people dead on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coastline.

The worst may not be over as Greece, which has seen particularly intense rainfall, is braced for more flooding.

A level 2 of 3 warning for severe storms was issued for Wednesday for parts of Greece, with threats including torrential rainfall and potentially tornadoes.

The storm, which has officially been named Daniel by the national meteorological services in southeast Europe, lashed the country with several months’ worth of rain on Tuesday, flooding homes, businesses and roads.

On Tuesday, the coastal port city of Volos, located around 330 kilometers (190 miles) north of Athens, was hit with around 10 times its monthly rainfall, approximately 375 mm in less than 14 hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

A man holding an umbrella walks on a flooded road in Volos.
People and dogs are rescued from the floods.

The storm has claimed at least three lives in the country. The latest victim was a man in his 80s who was swept away by the flooding near the town of Karditsa, in central Greece.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Wednesday, Greek Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said that four people remain missing in central Greece, the part of the country that has been hit the hardest by the storm. Kikilias called the storm an “unprecedented phenomenon.”

Kikilias noted that the port city of Volos is still dealing with heavy rains and the aftermath of Tuesday’s flooding, which damaged buildings and cars and caused the collapse of roads and bridges. The storm is expected to continue on Thursday, and the port of Volos remains non-operational as much of the city remains without electricity.

During a televised briefing Wednesday, meteorologist Dimitris Ziakopoulos, who works for the Greek government’s civil protection department, said the rainfall “is a huge number for Greek records and for most regions in Europe.” Greek meteorologists have said the rainfall exceeds the amount normally seen in an entire year.

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Roads have collapsed due to the floods in the area of Pelion, near Volos. Residents of a nursing home in the city had to relocate after a part of the building collapsed due to the rains, Greek public broadcaster ERT said on Wednesday.

Dozens of residents trapped in the floods in Pelion were evacuated by the Greek fire service. According to observations by Greece’s meteorological service, 600 to 800 millimeters of rain fell in the area around mount Pelion in central Greece within 24 hours.

Traffic circulation has been banned in the towns of Trikala, Farsala and Karditsa in central Greece, according to police.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the country was facing a “totally extreme weather phenomenon,” as he urged the public to follow instructions from authorities.

Flooding in Arnavutköy, Başakşehir and Küçükçekmece in Istanbul province, Turkey, on September 6, 2023.

In Turkey, at least two people have been killed following flooding in the Igneada Sisli Valley of Kirklareli district in the country’s northwest, according to the Turkish Ministry of Interior Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

Six people were rescued while four remain missing, AFAD said.

Severe flooding has also struck Bulgaria’s Black Sea coastline. Three deaths were confirmed in the municipality of Tsarevo in southern Bulgaria, national broadcaster BNT reported Wednesday. Another person is still missing in Tsarevo.

Flooding in the area has destroyed infrastructure and damaged roads and bridges.

The wreckage of a car and a caravan in Tsarevo, Bulgaria, on September 6, 2023 after floods along the Black sea coast.

The severe rain is the result of a very strong low-pressure system. The center of the storm has slowed to a crawl west of Greece in the Mediterranean and is expected to bring heavy rounds of rainfall across the region for the next day or so.

The storm appears to be forming into a tropical-like cyclone known as a “medicane”. These systems can bring dangerous conditions to the Mediterranean Sea and coastal countries, similar to tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic or typhoons in the Pacific.

The flooding tops off a summer in Europe characterized by extreme weather, from heat waves to devastating wildfires. Scientists are clear that as the human-caused climate crisis accelerates, this kind of extreme weather will become more common and more severe.

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