Flooding strikes western Slovakia
Thunderstorms in western Slovakia over the July 10 - 11 weekend brought spectacular lightening and driving rain which resulted in flash-flooding in many districts. The worst floods struck the Malacky district, where a third-degree flood alert was announced, while Lozorno, Borinka, Liptovská Mara, Pezinok, Senec, Orava and Bratislava also suffered heavy damage.
In Pezinok, the chemical plant Chemika Neuber was flooded, while in Senec, the Hotel Lúč, Hotel Družba and a bakery were also damaged by the flood waters. In the Bratislava districts of Podunajské Biskupice and Rača, many roads were temporarily blocked by water and felled trees. Army and police were called into various regions to help cope with the flood situation.
In Borinka, two days of flooding have resulted in damage estimated to exceed six million crowns, four million of which has struck individual citizens' property. The level of the local stream was recorded at three metres higher than its normal state, causing damage to local bridges and leaving holes six metres deep in the main road. The nearby village of Stupava also reported flooding.
Thirty minute deluge
Banská Bystrica, which had been spared flooding over the weekend, was struck by a thirty minute deluge on July 13 in which over 40 millimetres of rain fell, leaving much of the town under water as the result of flash flooding. During the downpour, the Rudlovský stream rose over half a metre, flooding Rudlovská Road and leaving it impassable for cars.
Many homes in the Rudlová and Sásová districts also filled with water, as did many of the city's main roads and intersections. Small trees were felled, adding to the road obstacles and large chunks of pavement whichwere swept away in the rain waters.
The flooding claimed its first victim on July 14, when 69-year-old Margaréta P., of Ponicka Huta, drowned. She had been standing on a foot bridge with a companion when a flash flood carried her away.
Picking berries hurts mountain animals
Many forest and mountain creatures in the hilly regions of Slovakia are dependent upon the now-ripening wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, said Miroslav Šaniga, a researcher for the Slovak Academy of Science Forest Ecology Institute based in Staré Hory. Therefore, he said, humans picking the berries can deprive the hungry animals of food, which can make bears in particular grumpy and dangerous.
According to Šaniga, bears nourish themselves almost exclusively on berries in the autumn. The quality and length of their hibernation depends on the success of their summer and autumn berry hunting. Šaniga said that forest visitors should be respectful of nature and leave some provisions for the animals because they have no "pantry full of canned fruits," like humans. A hungry animal is an angry animal, he pointed out, offering the occasional bear attacks on humans in Slovakia as evidence.
In some small, protected areas of the Tatra and Fatra mountain ranges, Šaniga said, no fruit picking is allowed while, in other areas, it is prohibited between 16:00 and 8:00, so as not to disturb the animal's normal fruit-eating hours.
International express trains from Slovakia to Poland were forced to temporarily suspend their routes through Čadca because flood waters damaged the tracks in both Poland and Slovakia, a Slovak Rail (ŽSR) PR department representative said. Heavy rain caused local flooding that damaged the Plavnica - Plavec and Čadca - Zwadron railway sections.
Compiled from TASR
by Chris Togneri