At least three people have died as a result of heavy rain and flooding in Slovenia as continuing extreme weather prompts the EU to issue warnings for several countries over the weekend.
Torrential rains and heavy floods swept through regions of Slovenia on Friday, killing at least three people, cutting off roads and bridges and surging into buildings. The prime minister described the devastation as “catastrophic.”
Slovenian police told the official STA news agency that a Slovenian woman died in the central town of Kamnik, where overnight flooding blocked roads and authorities closed kindergartens for the day. Two Dutch nationals died in a mountainous area near the city of Kranj.
“The death in Kamnik could have been caused by flooding, while the deaths in the mountains could have been caused by a lightning strike," said a police official. “The circumstances of the deaths are still being established.”
Authorities in the central city of Celje ordered evacuations of around 4,000 people, roughly one-tenth of the town's population as the surging Savinja River overflowed its banks. Upstream in the town of Ljubno, the same river swept away houses and caused landslides.
“We can already say that this a record flood," Prime Minister Robert Golob said at a news conference after cutting short his vacation because of the floods. Golob said the floods could be the biggest since Slovenia became independent in 1991.
“The scale is catastrophic. We are asking for all the help we can get,” he said. “I am calling on everyone to stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary to go out.”
Other countries across Europe are also suffering extreme weather, prompting the EU's Commissioner for Crisis Management to issue widespread warnings.
Heavy flooding has also struck parts of southern Austria as persistent rainfall continues.
Emergency services have been working flat-out in the districts of Carinthia, Styria and southern Burgenland.
New warnings have been issued in the districts of Southeast Styria, Deutschlandsberg and Leibnitz. Residents are being asked to refrain from non-essential car journeys and to stay at home.