District governors and municipal mayors in Bulgaria have been ordered to take preventative measures to safeguard people and counter flooding amid forecasts that the weekend of June 23 and 24 will bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to several parts of the country.
Fire service chief Nikolai Nikolov told a briefing on June 22 that Bulgarian Academy of Science metereologists had warned of changeable weather in the coming days, with dropping temperatures on Sunday as a cold front moves in.
A “code yellow” warning of potentially dangerous weather was issued for much of Bulgaria for June 23, with the only districts not subject to a weather warning being Sofia city and district, Pernik, Kyustendil, Dobrich and Varna.
There is a warning of a strong wind for the districts of Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven, Lovech, Gabrovo, Veliko Turnovo, Rousse, Razgrad, Silistra, Stara Zagora, Pazardjik and Plovdiv.
Heavy rain is forecast for the districts of Blagoevgrad, Smolyan, Kurdzhali, Haskovo, Yambol, Bourgas, Sliven, Turgovishte and Shoumen the warning was introduced due to expected heavy rainfall. Intense rain, possibly accompanied by hailstorms, is forecast for the night of June 23 in these areas.
Nikolov said that district governors and mayors had been told to ensure monitoring of critical stretches of river beds, drainage and sewerage.
Interior Ministry departments, fire services and the Bulgarian Red Cross had been contacted to be on the alert, he said.
Nikolov said that a special letter had been sent to authorities in Vidin, Montana, Lovech and Vratsa, where the rainfall was expected to be the heaviest.
Bulgarian fire safety senior official Stefan Stefanov issued a warning that attempting to enter the metro underground railway system is dangerous during flooding.
Earlier in the week, Sofia saw several metro stations hit by heavy rain, causing partial flooding and rendering escalators temporarily unusable. A number of underpasses also were inundated.
Stefanov also called for caution by motorists, saying even 15cm of water on the road is enough to carry off a car. He urged motorists not to attempt to pull other cars when roads were flooded.
In a flood, people should turn off the gas in their homes, he said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)