Wind and huge waves wreak havoc in Piran
Strong winds and huge waves wreaked havoc in one of Slovenia's most picturesque coastal towns on 3 November. Several seafront bars and restaurants in Piran were destroyed, a sea wall was torn apart and rocks thrown into the seafront road.
"I'm a local, here from Piran, and I can hardly remember ever seeing waves this huge before and the extent of the damage they caused," Peter Ventin from the Koper fire brigade told the Slovenian Press Agency late on 3 November.
The strong wind started blowing after 10am, creating the devastating waves that threw huge rocks from the sea wall onto the road. Firefighters and civil protection made efforts to remove the rocks to at least create an emergency route but to no avail.
"The situation has not calmed down the whole day and so much water is on the road ... that we couldn't come near with machinery," Ventin said. The cleanup started when the situation calmed down and is ongoing.
No damage assessments have been made yet, but the bars and restaurants that had been affected by the storms in the past few days were hit hardest and the damage will be huge. Window panes were shattered, terraces damaged, kitchens flooded and all equipment soaked.
"People worked hard all summer and then one such day comes and destroys everything you've worked for," Ventin said. Talking to Radio Slovenija the morning after, he repeated that the damage was huge but could not yet put a figure on it.
Firefighters have not been informed of flooded homes and there were no evacuations.
"Here in Piran, we're used to high tide and that your home may get flooded. People would often not call us to seek our assistance but they deal with the flood themselves," the firefighter said.
According to him, the bad weather did not cause any major incidents in other coastal towns.
However, the firefighters are at the ready because more bad weather is forecast in the night from 4 to 5 November. Ventin expressed concern what may happen yet. "The weather always brings new challenges," he said.
The Environment Agency issued a second-highest wind alert for the south-west of the country for 5 November and a heavy rainfall alert of the same intensity level for the north-west.
However, the risk is expected to be lesser than during the night from 2 to 3 November, when the worst-case scenario did not play out even though heavy rain caused many rivers to burst their banks and flood over.
Flood waters and landslides blocked roads and there have been reports of broken bridges some flooded homes and other property and power outages. Most of the people who had to leave their homes as a precaution have since been able to return.