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At least two dead as rain and floods lash Cyprus

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ATHENS (Reuters) – At least two people died in flooding in northern Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Thursday, as hail and rain hammered the island.

Turkish Cypriot media said the victims’ car was swept away during a deluge late Wednesday. Cyprus residents have reported virtually uninterrupted rain since early Tuesday, with some saying it was the heaviest in memory.

Flash flooding from an isolated downpour is not uncommon in Cyprus, but sustained floods are rare. Further bad weather was expected on Thursday.

“In minutes, it’s gone from beautiful sunshine to freezing cold with rumbles of thunder in the distance. I’m not looking forward to this,” one northern Cyprus resident said.

People were sewing sandbags to prevent water seeping through window seals and under doors, she said.

Social media images showed cars swept away into the sea, submerged in flood water and water gushing through homes.  

Normally dry rivers burst their banks, causing damage in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, and forcing the partial closure of a motorway linking the city to Kyrenia, a historic harbour town on the island’s northern coast. Many schools were shut.

“I have never seen anything like it,” said Devin Reid, 25, a resident of northern Nicosia. “Our front street looked like a river.”

(Reporting By Michele Kambas, editing by Larry King)

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