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16 July 2024

Summer Storm Sweeps through Balkan Region

By E247

A powerful storm struck several Western Balkan countries on Tuesday following days of intense heatwaves, resulting in damaged homes, uprooted trees, and streets flooded with torrential rainwaters.

The storm, accompanied by heavy rains, hail, and strong winds, first hit Slovenia on Monday before moving eastward to impact Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. Within hours, the storm caused a significant drop in temperatures.

Experts attribute such volatile weather patterns and unexpected storms, along with heatwaves, to human-induced climate change.

Footage from the affected region depicted rooftops and facades pockmarked by hail, fallen trees crushing cars, and roads transformed into rivers in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, and other cities.

Authorities in Slovenia reported emergency teams responding to dozens of distress calls, with winds and hailstones, some as large as eggs, shattering car windshields and damaging power lines, homes, gardens, and farms.

In Croatia, eastern regions suffered severe damage, prompting about 1,000 firefighters to join emergency response efforts elsewhere. A lightning strike ignited a house fire in the village of Bosnias.

The storm in northwest Bosnia caused power outages in several villages, while cars and homes sustained damage across the country.

In Belgrade, heavy rains late Monday covered streets with debris and fallen branches. Firefighters rescued stranded individuals and extinguished six lightning-caused fires.

State television channel RTS described a major highway segment between the north and south remaining closed until Tuesday morning.

Belgrade's mayor, Aleksandar Sapić, described the storms and floods as a "new reality in weather," while critics blamed poor sewer maintenance and infrastructure neglect amid rampant construction.

Police reported one person rescued unharmed after a tree fell on their car in the town of Pešen in northern Serbia.

Serbia's national airline, Air Serbia, announced flight delays due to fueling operations being suspended amidst potential lightning strikes.