The Slovenia Times

More damage as gale-force winds hit

Environment & Nature
A supercell storm above Ljubljana on Tuesday evening.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Severe storms with winds exceeding 100 km/h hit Slovenia late on 18 July, ripping roofs off buildings, and knocking down trees and power lines. Tens of thousands of households were left without power, more than 250 people camping outdoors were evacuated and rescuers helped hikers stranded in the mountains.

The storms hit the country less than a week after torrential rain, fierce winds and hail caused severe damage to buildings, crops, cars and forests in swathes of the country, and just as more powerful storms are forecast to be looming ahead.

The latest wave of storms made its way into the north of the country before splitting into two, one heading east to sweep across the area between Celje and Maribor as the other moved from north-west to pass central Slovenia and the south and south-east of the country.

The Environment Agency recorded winds gusting at speeds of 164 km/h at Kredarica, the country's highest weather station, 136 km/h at Krvavec, a ski resort north of Ljubljana, 120 km/h in Tolmin in the west and 106 km/h in the Črnomelj area in Bela Krajina, south-east.

The regions of Dolenjska and Bela Krajina are reported to have been hit hardest, with many many trees uprooted and roofs being ripped off buildings, including from a kindergarten.

Firefighters evacuated several groups of scouts and other people camping outdoors, including in Kostel, south, Kranjska Gora, north-west, and Brežice, east, according to the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration.

More than 20,000 households were affected by power outages in central Slovenia, roughly 18,000 in north Primorska, and thousands more in other parts of the country, including in Koroška in the north, and the areas of Maribor and Celje in the north-east.

Reports of damaged residential, public and commercial buildings, blowdown trees and damage to road, rail and other infrastructure also came in from other parts of the country, including Hrastnik in central Slovenia. There were also reports of landslides in north Primorska.

In Koroška, winds toppled trees for the third time in a week. "The biggest problem is that most of Črna remains without power because many electric poles have been knocked down," Romana Lesjak, the mayor of the municipality in the north, told the commercial broadcaster POP TV.

Firefighters, utility crews and foresters have been busy repairing the damage, cleaning up and covering roofs with tarpaulin around the country, while the extent of the damage is yet to be assessed.

First estimates by Slovenia Forest Service suggest around 50,000 cubic metres of trees were damaged and toppled in the latest storm, which comes on top of 300,000 cubic metres reported after the storms of 12 and 13 July.


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