A powerful summer storm sweeps through Balkans with hail, rain and winds, killing 2

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — A powerful storm has swept through countries in the western Balkans after several days of sizzling temperatures, killing two people and damaging houses, pulling out trees and flooding streets, officials said on Tuesday.

Heavy rain, hail and strong winds tore through Slovenia on Monday before pushing east to pummel Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and finally Montenegro on Tuesday morning. The storm sent temperatures plummeting in just several hours.

A worker died at a construction site in the Montenegrin coastal town of Canj while another person died from a lightning strike in Lustica, farther north along the Adriatic coast, the official RTCG television reported, citing police.

The report said that the storm on Tuesday toppled huge construction cranes in Bar harbor, wrecked beaches, ripped out trees and inundated streets.

Experts say human-induced climate change has brought wild weather swings, increasingly unpredictable storms and heat waves.

Footage from the Balkan region showed rooftops and facades poked with holes from hail, trees falling on cars and roads turning into rivers in Serbia’s capital Belgrade and other cities.

Authorities in Slovenia said emergency teams responded to dozens of calls while egg-sized hail and winds destroyed windshields on cars, damaged power lines and homes, gardens and farms.

In neighboring Croatia, the eastern part of the country was hit hardest while some 1,000 firefighters joined emergency teams elsewhere. A fire broke out when lightning hit a house in the village of Bosnjaci.

The storm in northwestern Bosnia left several villages without electricity while cars and homes were damaged throughout the country.

In Belgrade, strong rain and winds late on Monday flooded streets and covered them in debris and fallen branches. Firefighters rescued people whose cars were stuck and put out six fires caused by lightnings. A portion of the main north-south highway remained closed Tuesday morning, state RTS television said.

Belgrade Mayor Aleksandar Sapic said storms and floods were a “new weather reality,” but critics blamed the problems on poor maintenance of drainage systems and rampant construction without updating infrastructure.

One person was pulled out of a car unharmed after a tree fell on it in the northern Serbian town of Beocin, police said.

Serbia’s national carrier Air Serbia reported delays, saying refuelling of planes was halted because of possible lightning strikes.


Associated Press writer Predrag Milic in Podgorica, Montenegro, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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