Weather slowly calming down, warning downgraded to yellow
The latest information on the floods in Slovenia was presented at the press conference by meteorologist Brane Gregorčič and hydrologist Janez Polajnar, both from the Slovenian Environment Agency, Director of the Slovenian Water Agency Neža Kodre and Commander of the Civil Protection of the Republic of Slovenia Srečko Šestan.
They pointed out that the weather situation is slowly calming down, which is why the Slovenian Environment Agency has downgraded the weather warning to yellow. However, the situation on the ground is serious: rivers are still overflowing in most parts of the country, but the situation is not deteriorating as drastically as it did yesterday. Impassable roads pose a serious problem for the delivery of vital supplies to the most affected areas. On the ground, members of the Civil Protection, the Police and the Slovenian Armed Forces are doing their utmost to help thousands of people.
Meteorologist Brane Gregorčič presented the weather situation. He said that the weather was beginning to calm down which was why the Slovenian Environment Agency had downgraded the weather warning to yellow. Compared to yesterday, when between 30 and 90 litres of rain per square metre fell during the day, only 20 to 50 litres per square metre were recorded in the last 12 hours. The rainfall is expected to decrease further in the coming hours. Tomorrow afternoon a cold front will reach Slovenia from the west, which will not bring heavy rain, but thunderstorms may occur as it passes over. Gusty north-western winds and hail are possible, especially in the Primorska region. The atmosphere is expected to calm down overnight on Monday.
Hydrologist Janez Polajnar said that many rivers were still overflowing in most parts of the country, but the situation was not deteriorating as drastically as yesterday. In addition, rivers in central and western Slovenia have risen slightly, and their water levels are receding more slowly due to rainfall and the water already on the ground. The River Sava is flooding heavily and will reach its maximum flow in the lower reaches in the next few hours. The River Drava is stable in the upper reaches and is moderating in the lower reaches. The flow of the River Mura in Gornja Radgona has stabilised. The River Krka is overflowing in exposed areas and its water level will continue to rise during the day. During the night to Sunday and on Sunday morning, the most problematic area will be the confluence of the Sava and Krka rivers, in particular the area of Krška vas and its surroundings. The water level of the River Drava, which is still flooding, is nevertheless slowly receding, and its flow is stable and regulated, including from the Austrian side, so that it is under control, as is the flow of the River Mura.
He said that a gradual improvement in the hydrological situation was expected in other parts of the country next week, but with a very slow decline of flood waters and their draining into rivers. The emergence of small torrential streams cannot be ruled out as a result Sunday's storms, but as these storms will be fast-moving, no major problems are expected, Mr Polajnar concluded.
Water Agency Director Neža Kodre said that teams responsible for water management were active throughout the day and overnight yesterday, working together with regional civil protection headquarters to prevent further damage and protect people and property on the ground. The most critical situation is in the Lower and Upper Savinja valleys and in Črna na Koroškem, while Celje has remained below the brink of catastrophic events. She also said that some bridges on the Drava and Savinja rivers were washed away during the night. On the River Mura, dry retention basins will be activated on both the Slovenian and Hungarian sides. The embankments have been reinforced with additional flood bags. Waters of the lower River Sava have been rising, which has led to the evacuation of residents and tourists from the Terme Čatež campsite.
Srečko Šestan, Commander of the Civil Protection of the Republic of Slovenia, said that several evacuations had been carried out during the night. So far, more than 1,000 people have been evacuated, including 650 foreigners who were subsequently accommodated in Trbovlje and its surroundings because they got trapped on the road. All evacuees have been provided with food and accommodation. A few evacuations of residents with health problems or pregnant women are still to be carried out. The good news is that the bridge in Luče was not washed away as first predicted, as today's drop in water levels showed. Unfortunately, Črna na Koroškem is still completely cut off and all the competent services on the ground are working hard to establish a route to Črna and to provide the basic necessities of life to its inhabitants. A similar problem has occurred in the area stretching upwards from Ljubno, as all shops in Luče and Solčava have been flooded, but these locations are fortunately accessible by ground.
Mr Šestan pointed out that the big task ahead of all of us is to inspect all the bridges as soon as the situation allows and to assess their condition, which poses a major threat, as it may even be necessary to ban traffic over them.
Civil Protection Commander Šestan reiterated his call to the residents of Slovenia to strictly follow the warnings and instructions of the competent services on the ground.