Heavy rains have unleashed floods that caused serious damage to roads and other infrastructure in western and central Bulgaria, including the Vratsa and Plovdiv regions, endangered a key power station in Serbia and caused two deaths in Romania.
The deluges at the end of July came just two months after serious floods hit Balkan countries including Serbia and after weeks of regular heavy rains in parts of Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria, torrential rains on July 31 caused damage in the districts of Plovdiv, Montana and Vratsa.
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said that in many cases teams of firefighters had to carry out rescue operations.
Intense rainfall in the Plovdiv region caused the partial collapse of a bridge in the village of Purvenets. A bridge in the village of Hrabrino was inundated.
Damage to infrastructure left Purvenets and Hrabrino without drinking water, reports said.
Local media in Plovdiv said that the level of the river Maritsa was rising on the night of July 31.
A river in the village of Markovo in the Plovdiv region was reported to have overflowed.
In the Assenovgrad area in the Rhodopes, five villages were cut off because of floodwaters, in one case with cars able to use only an old Roman bridge.
Radio reports said that because of late afternoon torrential rain, accompanied by hail and windstorms, dozens of villages in the Rhodopes had power cuts.
States of emergency were declared in the Rhodope municipality and in seven villages in the region, Rhodope regional mayor Plamen Spassov said.
In Vratsa, heavy rain disrupted traffic on main streets and some cars were stranded.
Firefighters assisted in towing four cars and in draining the basements of buildings in Vratsa, local television station bTV reported.
Railway traffic on the Vratsa – Krivodol line was disrupted because sleepers were damaged by heavy rainfall.
In Montaga, there were 29 emergency calls reporting flooding of properties and stuck cars.
In Vidin in north-western Bulgaria, a tree fell on a car while major intersections were flooded.
In Bulgaria’s neighbour Serbia, a storm that hit Serbia late on July 30 and heavy rain that continued to fall into the morning of July 31 were threatening the thermal power plant Kostolac, Serbian news website B92 said.
Vital facilities and coal mines, as well as the nearby town in eastern Serbia, are all in danger from torrential flooding, said reports.
The situation is particularly difficult at the Drmno strip mine field that has been under water since a previous storm on July 23.
In Romania, two people were found dead and 121 villages were affected by flooding.
A “Code Red” weather warning for flooding in Romania was extended into August 1.
(Photo, of the damaged bridge in Purvenets in the Plovdiv region: screenshot from bTV)