VÓLOS-Storms have killed at least 14 people in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, with a Greek region hit by more rain in 24 hours than it normally sees in a year, officials said Wednesday.
A period of extreme heat has given way to heavy storms, turning streets in northwestern Turkey into rivers and hitting Greece with unprecedented downpours as it recovers from weeks of wildfires.
“Everything saved from the fire we had in July has been destroyed by this bad weather,” said Christos Kleftakis, 49, in Nea Anchialos, near the central Greek city of Volos.
“This is unprecedented -- these severe weather events, the strength of the rain, the wind. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he added.
As the world warms, the atmosphere contains more water vapour which increases the risk of heavy precipitation in some parts of the world, notably in Asia, Western Europe and Latin America.
Combined with other factors such as urbanisation and land-use planning, these more intense rainfall events contribute to flooding. Greece’s central Magnesia region got rainfall of 600-800 millimetres (24-31 inches) over a 24-hour period including Tuesday, a government meteorologist told reporters in Athens.
Dimitris Ziakopoulos called it an “unprecedented phenomenon” for the country’s meteorological data, which dates back to 1955.
The storm, dubbed “Daniel” by Greek weather experts, has been battering the country since Monday, mainly affecting the Magnesia region and its capital city Volos, 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Athens. An 87-year-old woman missing since Tuesday was found dead on Wednesday in the village of Paltsi in Magnesia, fire department spokesman Yannis Artopios told public broadcaster Ert