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Flash floods swamp Istanbul

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Flash floods swamp Istanbul

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Freak storms have sparked flash floods in Turkey, cutting a major motorway and stranding hundreds of people. Torrential rain sent a wall of water surging down the main highway from Istanbul to the airport, leaving morning traffic helpless. At least eleven people are known to have drowned but that number is expected to rise.

There had been hours of rain, but the sudden wave of water caught everyone by surprise. Many people were trapped in their cars. Amid scenes of panic they struggled to get out. The emergency services were almost helpless. The driving rain and the power of the flood waters meant even getting to stranded drivers was all-but impossible. The drama started on Monday night. Nine people were killed yesterday as rivers burst their banks; at least eight others were swept away – some bodies were found two kilometres away from where they disappeared. Others have not been found. Local officials struggle to cope. They say more than two thousand homes and buildings have been flooded, and minor roads simply washed away. The storm also caused a ship to run aground on the Black Sea coast. It broke up in the huge waves, but the crew of 12 was rescued by the coast guard. The rains eased off slightly this morning, but the weathermen say more storms are on the way.