Torrential rains described by rescuers as “biblical” hit northern and western Slovenia on Friday, disrupting traffic and causing black outs, with helicopters evacuating people from some areas.
Slovenia’s Environment Agency has issued a red warning against large-scale flooding. Meteorologists say the heavy rains, which are expected to spread to neighbouring Croatia and Bosnia further to the south, will last for the next 24 hours at least.
Rescuers struggled to reach flooded areas and issued a public call for rubber boats in places where roads were closed and impassable due to landslides.
Helicopters evacuated people trapped at their homes in the town of Skofja Loka, where vehicles and trucks were submerged or taken by torrents, local media reported.
“We have not seen floods like these not just in 500 years, but in a 1,000 years,” Roman Kocilija, chief of the rescuers in the village of Most pri Komendi, was quoted as saying by local media. He pointed to water levels of about 2 m (yards).
Nearly all regional roads in the north were closed as well as some railway lines. Some 16,000 households were left without electricity.
The army was ready to deploy to help, Defence Minister Marjan Sarec said. He appealed to citizens to stay indoors in the town of Kamnik, where authorities declared an emergency situation and closed kindergartens.