Dam broken in Slovenia – evacuation measures underway
10:34 p.m: After the violent storms in Slovenia, a dam in a river to protect against flooding in the east of the country broke on Saturday evening. The Slovenian news agency STA reported that the plant on the Mur river near Dolnja Bistrica was affected. A total of ten towns are at risk. Evacuation measures are underway there. It was initially unclear how many people it was. At first it was wrongly said that the dam was a dam.
“We have taken the absolutely necessary step of evacuation because it is the only measure to prevent possible casualties,” said Civil Protection Commander Srecko Sestan. “If the water starts to carry away the soil, the dam will collapse immediately and the tidal wave will hit nine or ten villages.” Attempts are now being made to seal the dam with concrete blocks by helicopter, he said.
On the Austrian upper reaches of the Mur, near Graz, the water level continues to rise, said hydrologist Janez Polajnar, according to STA. “The conditions are unpredictable.”
Croatia is spared from the tidal wave for the time being
10:07 p.m.: Contrary to initial fears, Croatia was initially spared major flooding in inhabited areas on Saturday evening. However, there was no all-clear. Because of the expected tidal wave on the rivers from neighboring Slovenia to the north, Croatia’s authorities had sandbags piled up and drained river water from rivers in places.
The director of the Croatian Water Management Agency, Zoran Djurokovic, did not rule out minor flooding despite the precautionary measures. Large amounts of water are currently being diverted from the Sava River to the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park in the north of the country. “You have to be careful, because there are many kilometers of shore where an incident can happen,” he said, according to the Internet newspaper index.hr. In the municipality of Brdovec near Zagreb, the water reached about 50 houses.
Situation stabilizes in Austria, “unimaginable damage” in Slovenia
9:09 p.m.: After floods and landslides caused by devastating rainfall in the south of Austria and in Slovenia, there were numerous traffic jams and obstructions in holiday travel on Saturday. At the same time, the situation in the flood areas of Austria stabilized, according to the APA news agency – even if there were still evacuations in some places, such as in the Carinthian district of St. Veit on Saturday. In Slovenia, too, the heavy rains abated somewhat and the clean-up work was in full swing.
According to the information, the situation in front of the already heavily used Karawanken Autobahn (A11) remained “tense” on Saturday: The automobile club ÖAMTC estimated the waiting time in front of the Karawanken Tunnel in both directions, according to APA, at between one and one and a half hours. The club appealed to vacationers to stay on the highways, even in traffic jams.
The smaller border crossings to Slovenia in the districts of Völkermarkt and Wolfsberg are still impassable, APA reported. Likewise, the Loiblpass over the Karawanken is still closed.
Serious storms had also hit neighboring Slovenia since Thursday. According to the police, three people died within 24 hours in floods and landslides in the north-east and in the center of the EU country – including two Dutch people, according to the STA news agency. Access to villages was cut off and traffic was disrupted in many places.
It is the “worst natural disaster” in Slovenia for about three decades, said Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob after a meeting of the National Security Council. “The damage is unimaginable, practically two-thirds of the country is affected.” The extent of the damage is estimated to exceed half a billion euros, Golob continued.
The situation in the Koroska region in the immediate vicinity of the flood plains in Austria was particularly critical. The town of Crna na Koroskem was one of the worst hit places, remaining cut off from the outside world on Saturday. Army helicopters had to fly help to the town, 100 kilometers north of the capital Ljubljana.
In the nearby village of Menges, rescue workers and residents were busy cleaning up on Saturday. “First we heard a siren, then another, and then it was like a tsunami,” a man standing in front of his damaged house described the disaster situation to the AFP news agency.
The water quickly entered the building through the kitchen, Mateja Hribar Ziherl, head of the local kindergarten, told AFP. “Our only solution was to take the children upstairs and wait for rescue.”
Croatia prepares for tidal wave on Saturday evening
5:31 p.m.: While Slovenia and parts of Austria are battling the serious effects of storms, Croatia is preparing for a tidal wave. This is expected on Saturday evening from the rivers coming from Slovenia. A few people had to be rescued here as well. Several communities built sandbag dams as a precaution. The Adriatic coast was also partially affected. In Split, after a storm and heavy rain, vehicles had to be brought to safety from flooded streets and basements had to be pumped out.
Dead man found in Ljubljana
3:08 p.m.: A man’s body has been found amid severe storms and floods in Slovenia. She was discovered on Saturday on the banks of the Sava River in the capital Ljubljana, the Slovenian news agency STA reported, citing the police. It is now being examined whether this death is related to the storm. The day before, three people had probably died because of the storm. The police are still investigating.
Disaster alert declared in five Austrian municipalities
3:01 p.m.: Due to heavy rain and flooding, a disaster alarm has already been declared in five communities in Styria. In numerous other places there was a civil defense warning or a civil defense alarm. Large-scale closures were made in the disaster areas, as announced by the state of Styria on Facebook.
Five Dutch people missing after severe weather in Slovenia
2:36 p.m.: At least five Dutch people are missing in the severe storms in Slovenia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this to radio station NOS on Saturday. It had previously become known that two Dutch people had died. No further details were given. 400 Dutch people had to leave a campsite after severe flooding.
Two Dutch men aged 50 and 20 died on Friday. They came from Gouda and, according to media reports, were on a mountain hike near Veliki Draski. Nothing was said about the exact circumstances of the death.
Tunnel in Austria closed due to storms
The Austrian traffic service “ÖAMTC” reports that numerous border crossings – such as the Loibl tunnel in Carinthia – between Austria and Slovenia are closed. Therefore, there will be long traffic jams in both directions in front of the Karawanken Tunnel (A11). The fact that the Maribor – Ljubljana (A1) connection between Lopata and Trnava is also not passable due to flooding (as of Saturday morning) will cause additional delays on the open connections.
Rain and traffic conditions – traffic jams on the A10
The severe storms led to long traffic jams in Saturday travel. There were massive delays, especially on the Tauernautobahn (A10), and accidents also caused disabilities. Although the rainfall eased somewhat on Saturday, over the past two days in Carinthia and Styria more than 200 liters per square meter had fallen in places, causing flooding, landslides and traffic delays.
Three dead in storms in Slovenia
Three people died in severe storms in Slovenia: Two Dutch climbers died on Friday in the mountains near Kranj, probably from lightning, as the STA news agency reported, citing the police. Also on Friday, a woman died in floods in the town of Kamnik, 20 kilometers north of Ljubljana. As the STA further reported, the police checked the exact causes of death on Saturday.
Flood alarm in Austria – traffic chaos threatens
In the southernmost state of Carinthia and in Styria, there was a risk of further flooding, and campsites were cleared. According to the broadcaster ORF, more than 2,500 firefighters and dozens of soldiers were deployed.
70 households evacuated in Carinthia
According to the authorities, a campsite on Lake Gösselsdorf and one on Lake Turnersee were at risk of flooding. Campers were sometimes housed in nearby school buildings. In the village of St. Paul im Lavanttal in Carinthia, 70 households were evacuated on Friday evening. In a southern suburb of the state capital of Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, a retention basin had to be pumped out because it was in danger of overflowing. In Lavamünd, completely soaked slopes began to slide and threatened residential buildings. In Leibnitz in Styria, a retirement home was evacuated as a precaution. In another town, people were picked up from their homes by boats and taken to safety.
Weather chaos causes traffic jams
On Saturday morning there were already large traffic jams due to holiday traffic, for example on the A11 in the Karawanken Tunnel. Due to the bad weather, the alternative route over the Loibl Pass between Klagenfurt and Ljubljana was closed, as was part of the Slovenian A1 motorway, an important transit route for many holidaymakers in Croatia. According to the ORF, the route between Maribor and Trieste should remain partially interrupted until Sunday.