Outages and fallen trees as strong wind strikes Slovakia

The SHMÚ has also issued wind warnings for February 5.

Prístavny Bridge in Bratislava is partially closed after a lorry tips over on February 4, 2020.Prístavny Bridge in Bratislava is partially closed after a lorry tips over on February 4, 2020. (Source: SITA)

The weather in Slovakia has gone wild and caused significant damage across the country – power cutoffs, traffic problems and flooding.

A map of Slovakia turned yellow, orange, and red after the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) issued numerous weather warnings against strong winds on February 4.

SHMÚ predicted 115km/h winds would hit the Bratislava Region in the afternoon hours, while 180km/h winds were expected in the Tatras and Lower Tatras. The SHMÚ also warned against rainfall and flooding in several districts in the Žilina, Banská Bystrica, and Trenčín Regions.

Meteorologists also expected snowfall in the Tatra Mountains, as well as in historical regions of Kysuce, Horehronie and Orava, which are located in the north of Slovakia.

Fire and Rescue Corps (HaZZ) said on Facebook it helped people 253 times in different regions, mostly in the Bratislava Region (72) and Trnava Region (70), throughout the day.

The SHMÚ is continuing to monitor the situation; it has already issued wind warnings for February 5. People can follow changes to meteorological warnings and hydrological warnings on its website.

Closed mountain passages

From the morning of February 4, snowfall has been complicating the traffic in Banská Bystrica and other parts of central Slovakia; several mountain passages, including Šturec, Čertovica, Príslop and Donovaly, remained closed.

“There are several crossed lorries and cars in the Vernár mountain passage [eastern Slovakia]; other lorries will not pass and passenger cars only with difficulties,” a public Slovak Radio station (SRo) reported in the morning.

Mountain passages were gradually opened to cars after midday. On the evening of February 4, Čertovica stayed closed, and Šútovce and Donovaly were closed for cars longer than 10 metres, the zjadnost.sk website reported.

Flood warnings

A road in Turzovka, northern Slovakia, was partially closed on February 4 after it began to fall apart amid rain, the Žilina Region Police reported.

In the Upper Nitra region, western Slovakia, continuous rainfalls caused river levels to rise. Handlovka River in the city of Prievidza flooded roads. Hence, the SHMÚ issued the highest hydrologic warning in the cities of Prievidza and Bánovce nad Bebravou.

Later on, the Turiec River flooded roads in several villages in the Turčianske Teplice district, Žilina Region. In the late afternoon, a third level flood warning was issued for the Bebrava and Radiša rivers, both in the Bánovce nad Bebravou district, Nitra, as well as Turiec.

A flood warning was issued for several districts in eastern Slovakia, including Prešov, Michalovce and Bardejov, as well.

Lorry tips over

The strong wind, which the SHMÚ warned against, caused plenty of problems in Bratislava; a lorry tipped over on the Prístavný Bridge. Due to fallen trees, bus 43 did not operate, while buses 99, 96, and 98 were detoured. The wind also destroyed several bus stops.

In Bratislava, the SHMÚ issued a third-level wind warning in the afternoon. Moreover, mountain rescuers did not recommend hiking.

The strongest wind in the lower parts of Slovakia was recorded in Nitra; in the mountains, wind reached 120km/h at 15:00 on Chopok Peak.

Not only roads were blocked because of fallen trees but also railways. On the Bratislava-Trnava route, trains were delayed by 30 minutes. Trains between Štrba and Štrbské pleso in the Tatras did not run because of the weather conditions. A list of train delays can be followed on twitter.

Outages

In some parts of Slovakia, cemeteries and parks were closed because of the wind. The city of Trnava recommended citizens avoid places with a high density of trees.

Moreover, about 7,000 households still remain without power in western Slovakia (Bratislava, Trnava, and Senica). More than 3,000 off-take points remain without electricity in central Slovakia as well. For this, energy distributors declared a “calamity” situation.

Since the weather has not improved, other outages are expected. Households in Žilina, Banská Bystrica, and Žiart Hronom are experiencing the most outages.

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