KAMNIK, Slovenia (AP) — At least two people were killed when torrential rains battered northern and western Slovenia on Friday, causing flooding, knocking out power and disrupting traffic.
Two men from the Netherlands died, possibly after being struck by lightning, the Slovenian STA news agency reported. The Dutch government confirmed the deaths but not the cause.
An elderly Slovenian woman also died during the storm, although authorities were still investigating the circumstances, the STA added.
The Slovenian Environment Agency has issued a red warning against large-scale flooding. Forecasters say the heavy rains, which are expected to spread to neighboring Croatia and Bosnia further south, will last for at least the next 24 hours.
Rescuers struggled to reach flooded areas and issued a public appeal for rubber boats in places where roads were closed and impassable due to landslides.
Helicopters evacuated people trapped in their homes in the town of Skofja Loka, where vehicles and trucks were submerged or swept away by torrents, local media reported.
“We haven’t seen floods like this not just in 500 years, but in 1,000 years,” Roman Kocilija, head of the rescuers in the village of Most pri Komendi, told Slovenian N1 television. Water levels had reached 2 meters, he added.
Nearly all regional highways in the north were closed, as well as some rail lines, and around 16,000 homes were left without power, the STA reported.
The army was ready to deploy to help, Defense Minister Marjan Sarec said. He called on citizens to stay at home in the city of Kamnik, where authorities declared an emergency situation and closed kindergartens.
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