BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Belgrade braced for a river surge Monday that threatened to inundate Serbia’s main power plant and cause major power cuts in the crisis-stricken country as the Balkans struggle with the consequences of the worst flooding in southeastern Europe in more than a century.Related Stories
At least 35 people have died in Serbia and Bosnia in the five days of flooding caused by unprecedented torrential rain, laying waste to entire towns and villages and sending tens of thousands of people out of their homes, authorities said.But the death toll is expected to rise as floodwaters started to recede in some locations, laying bare the full scale of the damage after three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago.Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija compared the flood damage to the carnage during the 1990’s war that killed at least 100,000 people and left millions homeless. He said about 100,000 houses, 230 schools and health institutions were destroyed in the floods in Bosnia and about a million people lack drinking water.The damage is „immense,” he said, adding: „the only difference from the war is that less people have died.”The coal-fired Nikola Tesla power plant supplies electricity for half of Serbia and most of Belgrade. It is located in Obrenovac, the worst flood-hit town near Belgrade where some 7,800 people have been evacuated from their homes, which were mostly completely submerged in water. Some 2,000 people are still believed trapped in higher floors of buildings, without power or phone lines.View galleryMembers of the Bosnian Army rescue people from their flooded homes, in the Bosnian town of Maglaj, 1 …Predrag Maric, a Serbian emergency official, said Monday that the situation in Obrenovac is still critical. He said that so far thousands of soldiers, policemen and volunteers have managed to „defend” the power plant from the surging Sava River waters by building high walls of sandbags.Villages between Belgrade and Obrenovac were drenched in muddy waters Monday, as people tried to reach their houses to see what was left inside.Wearing rubber boots and pants, a man waded through the water toward his house in the village of Kalnic. Nearby, two cows were tied to a bus stop, nibbling at hay, apparently brought there from flooded barns.In recent days, surging water has coursed through towns and villages in Serbia and Bosnia and to a lesser extent in Croatia, flowing across streets and into homes, sweeping bridges off their moorings. Sodden hills crumbled into landslides. Hundreds of buses and cars were stranded on flooded roads.The Sava flood wave, expected to reach Belgrade Monday and peak by Wednesday, originated in the upper segment of the river, which forms the border between Bosnia and Croatia.In Orasje, a Bosnian border town, efforts were made to prevent further spilling of the Sava at the places the barriers had broken. Ideas included dropping old trucks from helicopters or covering the gaps with wire frames and then reinforcing with sandbags.The emergency force commander in the town, Fahrudin Solak, said the decaying corpses of drowned farm animals now represent a major health risk for the region.”We are sending out mobile incinerators and we have asked for international assistance, to send us more incinerators to prevent diseases,” he said.Floodwaters have also triggered more than 3,000 landslides across the Balkans. In Bosnia, the water surge disturbed land mines left over from the region’s war, along with warning signs that marked location of the unexploded weapons._Associated Press writers Sabina Niksic in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Jovana Gec in Obrenovac, Serbia, contributed.
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Entire towns and villages in the Balkans have been laid to waste as the region struggles to deal with the worst flooding on record.Here are some photos of the devastation._Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo
Floods threaten power plant, land mines in Balkans
„I grew up in this town,” the 58-year-old postal worker said. „I was born and raised here.”The worst rainfall in more than a century has flooded large swathes of Bosnia and Serbia, threatening Serbia’s main power plant and unleashing landslides that have swept away homes and unearthed land mines left over from the region’s war, along with warning signs pinpointing their locations.At least 35 people have died and tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes.In Obrenovac, shop windows were shattered and children’s bicycles, bedding, chairs and car tires were scattered in the streets. Dogs abandoned by their owners roamed about in packs as security forces distributed drinking water and food to the few remaining residents.”It came like a big wave,” Pavlovic said of the churning floodwaters that inundated the town of 15,000 some 20 miles south of the capital, Belgrade, when the Sava overflowed its banks.Historic Flooding Threatens the Balkans Play Video„It happened in one hour, two meters of water. Nobody saw it coming,” said Pavlovic, whose two sons and their families were among those who fled.Another surge of floodwaters on Monday prompted the evacuation order for a dozen communities, including Obrenovac, where soldiers, police and volunteers worked around the clock to protect the coal-fired Nikola Tesla power plant, which supplies electricity for half of Serbia and most of Belgrade.Emergency crews have so far defended the plant by building high walls of sandbags, but some of the barriers were destroyed when a powerful 9-foot-high surge of floodwater burst through them Monday.Hundreds of people were evacuated by helicopters and buses, joining some 7,800 residents already forced from their homes since Friday. Hundreds more were believed trapped in the higher floors of buildings, without power or phone lines.The death toll is expected to rise as floodwaters recede after the worst rainfall since records began to be kept 120 years ago.Record Floods Leave West Balkans Homeless Play VideoIn Bosnia, Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija called the flood damage „immense” and even compared it to the carnage during the country’s 1992-95 war that killed at least 100,000 people and left millions homeless. He said the flooding had destroyed about 100,000 houses and 230 schools and hospitals and left a million people without drinking water.”The only difference from the war is that less people have died,” he said. „The country is devastated. … This is something that no war in the history of this country” ever accomplished.In Orasje, a Bosnian border town, frantic efforts were being made to prevent the Sava from rushing through broken barriers. Ideas included dropping old trucks from helicopters or covering gaps with wire frames and then reinforcing with sandbags.The emergency commander in the town, Fahrudin Solak, said the decaying corpses of drowned farm animals littered the area. „We are sending out mobile incinerators and we have asked for international assistance, to send us more incinerators,” he said.The floods have triggered more than 2,000 landslides in Bosnia. Aside from sweeping away homes and barns, the walls of mud and earth have carried some of the estimated 100,000 land mines left over from the region’s war, along with their warning signs, to entirely new, often unknown, locations.”Landslides and land mines devastated very fertile land,” Lagumdzija said._Stojanovic reported from Belgrade, Serbia. Associated Press writers Sabina Niksic, Aida Cerkez and Sulejman Klokoqi in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Marko Drobnjakovic in Obrenovac, Serbia, contributed.
Balkans Flooding: Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia Deal With Deadly Floods; More Evacuations Ordered
Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia Indeed, even as floodwaters receded in some locations, others downstream along the Sava River had already been swept away by the swollen expanse of river. And as the flooding continues, authorities in the region fear that the death toll will only continue to grow.”The only difference from the war is that less people have died,” Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija said. „The country is devastated … this is something that no war in the history of this country” ever accomplished.The Associated Press contributed to this report.1 / 65
Raw: Flooding in West VirginiaRaw: Flooding in West VirginiaRAW: Storm Chasers Hit! Next 12 Hours
- Monday night: Not much severe weather is expected. The best chance of a thunderstorm with 1-inch-diameter hail is in parts of the central High Plains.
- Tuesday: Again, only a few severe t-storms are possible in parts of the western Great Lakes, northern Rockies/High Plains, and parts of California and Nevada. An overnight cluster of t-storms with hail and high winds may form over the southern Great Lakes.
- Wednesday: Severe t-storms may be more numerous from the Ohio Valley to the central High Plains. Damaging winds and hail appear to be the main threats.
- Thursday and Friday: A threat of t-storms, some of which may be severe, from the Rockies, High Plains and central Plains east into parts of the Carolinas/southeast Virginia.
Again, no outbreak of widespread severe thunderstorms and tornadoes is expected this week. Our TOR:CON forecast from severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes has more details on the areas affected.While we’re not expecting a large amount of severe weather over the next several days, lightning is of course always dangerous. Keep that in mind if you have outdoor plans in the orange areas on our thunderstorm maps.Severe Weather Live Ticker: Latest UpdatesAll tornado warnings, along with other relevant tweets from The Weather Channel and local National Weather Service offices in current threat areas, will appear here. Information updates automatically; no need to reload or refresh your browser. Time stamps on the left are in Eastern time; subtract one hour for Central time and two hours for Mountain time. For complete warning information and radar links, look below our live ticker.
By Jess Baker Published: May 19, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT weather.com