Another weather front to sweep over Slovenia on Sunday
Following a turbulent night, the weather is gradually settling, but another weather front is forecast to sweep over Slovenia on Sunday. A yellow alert is in place for most of the country and an orange alert for the Primorska region and the northwest due to strengthening south-westerly winds and forecast heavy rainfall on Sunday.
The Drava river, whose water levels are significantly elevated, is a growing concern, as it is expected to flood to a greater extent in its lower reaches below Maribor in the next few days; the competent services there are already prepared to take all necessary emergency measures.
Meteorologist Branko Gregorčič of the Slovenian Environment Agency said in his briefing that the morning had brought some relief, which is why the weather alert level for most Slovenia has been downgraded to yellow. However, an orange alert remains in effect for southwest Slovenia, particularly the Primorska region, for this afternoon. This is primarily due to the intensifying south-westerly winds, which are expected to gradually subside, bringing about calm weather conditions on Saturday.
Last night was marked by stormy weather, especially in the mountains, where wind gusts reached up to 185 kilometers per hour at Kredarica. In the Posočje and Bohinj regions, rainfall exceeded 200 liters per square meter. Intense rainfall was also experienced in various parts of Slovenia. Another weather front is anticipated to arrive overnight from Saturday to Sunday, although it is expected to be slightly less severe. However, an orange alert has been issued due to the forecast strong winds, particularly along the coast in the Primorska region, and for rainfall in the northwest, which is no longer expected to be close to 200 millimetres, but close to 100 millimetres in just over twelve hours. "This is of course not a completely worry-free situation, given the previously waterlogged ground, but we expect it to be less tense than it was last night," said Gregorčič. He added that the good news was that, according to forecasts, the weather would be mostly dry at least in the first part of next week.
Hydrologist Janez Polajnar from the Slovenian Environment Agency said that the torrential water from the Gorenjska region, especially from Bohinj and the upper Posočje regions, was gradually flowing towards central Slovenia. There, the Sava river has already reached its maximum in the vicinity of Ljubljana, but fortunately it has remained within the lower limit of approximately 1,200 cubic meters per second, as predicted yesterday. The high-water wave is advancing towards Zasavje and will continue on its way towards Posavje and Croatia. In the next few hours in the afternoon, the Sava river is expected to flood also in Zasavje, and its high-water wave is anticipated to leave Slovenia sometime in the evening.
He pointed out that a major flood hotspot was on the overflowing Drava river, which together with the inflow from Austria was carrying about 1,800 cubic metres of water per second and was already flooding Dravograd. The flood wave will spread along the lower reaches of the Drava during the afternoon and night of Saturday, so that extensive flooding can be expected, especially in the area below Maribor. During the evening and night, the settlements between Kanal and the old Drava riverbed, as well as the surrounding settlements from the Markovci dam towards the Croatian border and Borl, will be at risk. The flood wave on the Drava in Slovenia is expected to continue into the night from Saturday to Sunday, which means that the lower reaches of the Drava will remain flooded throughout Saturday .
Floods are also occurring in other river basins, particularly in the upper reaches of the Reka river. Polajnar stressed that despite the forecast for less rainfall, Sunday's weather was a cause for concern due to the already heavily waterlogged ground, which is why rivers are expected to rise again in the Posočje, Gorenjska and central Slovenia regions, as well as in southwestern Slovenia, especially in the Pokolpje region and in the karst river areas of Notranjska and Dolenjska.
Director of the Slovenian Water Agency Neža Kodre said that the Water Directorate, together with the other competent services, had started yesterday afternoon and evening to implement emergency intervention measures in the most vulnerable areas in order to reduce the risks posed by rising water levels. Overnight and in the morning, various interventions have already been carried out in areas ranging from the coast, the Posočje region and the upper and middle reaches of the Sava. Where necessary, dry detention basins were activated to hold back the flood waves. In cooperation with the civil protection services, the flow of watercourses was restored and other measures were taken where necessary, Kodre stressed, adding that the services would continue to implement emergency measures in the Drava river basin.
Srečko Šestan, Commander of the Civil Protection of the Republic of Slovenia, said that 180 events had occurred in the last few hours. All relevant services are still very active in the area of the Drava river where the entire alert system from Koroška to Ptuj has been activated. The Civilian Protection has released flood defence bags from its warehouses to help the municipalities. Šestan stressed that this time, the rain had fortunately spared Baška Grapa, which had made extensive preparations for another weather emergency, and expressed his hope that the situation there would slowly return to normal.