The Slovenia Times

Storms leave trail of destruction


Northern Slovenia was hit by ferocious storms early on 13 July with heavy rain, hail and gusts of wind exceeding 100km/h. Moving from the west to the east at high speeds, the weather system left a trail of destruction behind, injuring two French tourists who were camping outside a designated area in Bohinj.

Hundreds of buildings, including homes, barns, businesses, churches and schools, had their roofs blown off, were damaged by fallen trees or flooded. Many roads remain closed due to toppled trees and thousands were left without power.

Firefighters, civil protection teams and other services have been working for hours to repair broken power lines, pump up flood water, repair roofs and remove fallen trees roads and other infrastructure.

French family injured in Bohinj

In Gorenjska, the worst situation has been reported from the Bohinj area. A tree fell on the car and tent of a French family camping in a forest, injuring the parents. They were taken to the Jesenice general hospital, while the two children were unharmed, Bohinj Mayor Jože Sodja told the Slovenian Press Agency.

The family set up camp in the forest near the village of Nomenj, about halfway through a narrow valley connecting the tourist destinations of Bohinj and Bled.

It took the fire brigades, which were making their way toward the family from both ends of the valley, a long time to reach them due to blowdown trees.

Several groups of scouts had to be evacuated from their camps in the area of Gorenjska and in Posočje to the west after their tents were destroyed by winds.

Havoc in the north-east

Further east in Koroška, blowdown trees blocked roads and damaged electrical cables, houses and cars. A number of roads remain closed as relevant services are rushing to clear the damage.

In Štajerska, dozens of firefighting units have been dispatched. In Maribor, the city park has been closed to public because a number of trees had been uprooted and damaged.

Some 50,000 consumers were left without power, but electricians have been working hard to restore power supply and many of the consumers have since been reconnected.

In the north-easternmost part of the country, Pomurje, wind caused much damage to buildings, blowing off roofs and uprooting trees. Some trees landed on buildings and cars. Roads were blocked and thousands left without power there as well.

Storm system travelled 1,000km in 12 hours

The highest wind speed measured at low altitudes during the storms reached 103km/h, recorded at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and in Rakičan near Murska Sobota in the north-east, meteorologist Brane Gregorčič told the STA.

The storm system developed because the Mediterranean is experiencing a heat wave, while western and central Europe are seeing somewhat colder air blowing in off the Atlantic, said Gregorčič.

The system started developing over the south of France in the afternoon on 12 July, crossed the north of Italy during the night, finally reaching northern Slovenia in the early morning hours.

"In just over 12 hours, the system travelled some 1,000 kilometres," said Gregorčič, explaining that strong winds are created by the high speeds at which the storm is moving forward and the rain pushing into the air mass ahead.

Second wave hits central, south Slovenia

In the afternoon, a second wave of storms caused significant damage in central and southern parts of the country as rain turned into hail.

Hailstones with a diameter of up to seven centimetres were recorded in Metlika and Trebnje, and in Krško the hailstones were more than five centimetres in diameter. Hail was also reported in Ljubljana and around Postojna.

The Environment Agency forecasts that the storm system will dissipate by the evening and little to no precipitation is expected after 8pm. Slovenia can look forward to a sunny weekend.

Parts of the south-central Slovenia were already hit by storms early on 12 July, with reports of flooding and uprooted trees from the areas around Postojna, Pivka and Cerknica.


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