Torrential rain causes massive flooding in eastern Europe
Torrential rain caused widespread flooding and landslides across Austria on Sunday, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.
At least one person died and two were missing in the deluge, which in some places has dumped up to two months’ worth of rain in just days.
One clean-up worker was killed in a mudslide in the town of St Johann near Salzburg, the Austrian Press Agency reported, while two other people were missing in the province after being swept into raging streams.
The provinces of Upper Austria, Tyrol and Styria were also hit hard by the severe weather, which triggered the worst flooding in some areas since 2002.
A flood alarm for the northern side of the Alps was in effect until early on Monday, national broadcaster ORF said. The ZAMG weather service forecast that rain would slacken by Monday.
Floods threaten Prague’s historic centre after days of rain
Czech soldiers erected metal barriers and piled up sandbags on Sunday to protect Prague’s historic center from flooding after days of heavy rains swelled rivers and forced evacuations from some low-laying areas.
Prague authorities also limited public transport and closed underground stations as water from the Vltava River overflowed into parts of the Old Town.
The historic area is a UNESCO heritage site boasting hundreds of well-preserved buildings, churches and monuments dating back mostly to the 14th Century, including the Charles Bridge that straddles the Vltava.
“Due to the current situation, I have declared a state of danger for the area of the capital city,” acting mayor Tomas Hudecek told a news conference.
The floods that have killed at least one person and left several missing across the Czech Republic. Rising rivers have forced evacuations, highway closures and the shutting of rail lines throughout western and southern Bohemia.
The situation brought back memories of floods in 2002 that killed 17 people, forced tens of thousands from their homes, caused several billion dollars of damage across Prague.
Following that disaster, the Czech government spent $150 million to install an anti-flooding system.