Devastating Floods in Slovenia Continue, Krka, Sava, Drava, and Dravinja Rivers Expected to Flood

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Slovenia, 04.08.2023

Meteorologist Brane Gregorčič from the Slovenian Environment Agency (Arso) warns that the heavy rains causing severe flooding, especially in the northern part of the country, are far from over.

The most intense downpours are now shifting towards the southeast, moving along the Croatian border and then northeastward. Within just 12 hours, a record-breaking amount of rain has fallen, exceeding the most probable scenarios. Some areas have seen up to 200 millimeters of rainfall per square meter. Citizens are strongly urged not to approach swollen rivers, as it poses a significant risk to life. POP TV and Kanal A are airing a special program “Slovenija pod vodo” (Slovenia Underwater) from 1:00 PM.

Krka, Sava, Drava, and Dravinja Rivers Expected to Flood

At a press conference, meteorologist Brane Gregorčič, hydrologist Janez Polajnar, and Civil Protection commander Srečko Šestan addressed the public about the unprecedented meteorological and hydrological conditions in Slovenia. Gregorčič emphasized that the rain event is not over, and the rainfall will continue until tomorrow morning. Polajnar highlighted that Slovenia is experiencing a flood similar to the largest historical floods. Authorities expect further flooding of the Krka, Sava, Drava, and Dravinja rivers, with a record-breaking flow of the Sava River at its exit from the country.

“Vreme je šlo svojo pot,” said Gregorčič during the press conference. The amount of rainfall received in the past 12 hours has exceeded even the most pessimistic scenarios, with some areas experiencing up to 200 millimeters of rain per square meter. Rivers and streams have already begun to overflow, and further flooding is expected for the Krka, Sava, Drava, and Dravinja rivers. The Sava River at its exit from Slovenia is also experiencing record-high water levels, according to hydrologist Janez Polajnar.

Further Flooding in Southeast Slovenia

The severe downpours are gradually moving towards southeast Slovenia, specifically affecting the Kočevsko region, the Kolpa River area, Bela krajina, and the region near the Croatian border, as well as the Savinja River region. The situation in these areas is expected to worsen. The Krka River, its tributaries, the Sava River, and its tributaries in the lower stretches, as well as other rivers in Štajerska and the Slovenske gorice region, will experience significant flooding throughout the day and into Saturday night.

High Drava River Levels and Potential Threats in Austria

The situation on the Drava River is also worrisome. Information from Austria suggests that they plan to increase the flow of the Drava River at the border to 1300 cubic meters per second, which, when combined with local tributaries in Slovenia, may exceed 2000 cubic meters per second downstream from the Markovci weir. This amount is extraordinarily high, almost similar to the levels seen in 2012. Additionally, the Mura River is also flooding but is currently within its protective embankments.

Weather Expected to Calm Down in the Coming Days

It is expected that the weather will gradually calm down in the next few days. According to Gregorčič’s forecast, rainfall will weaken from the west on Saturday, with precipitation ceasing entirely by Sunday morning. On Sunday, another frontal system may bring showers and thunderstorms, but significant consequences are not anticipated. However, vigilance remains high, as this year’s weather disturbances have proven to cause considerable inconvenience.

Highest Rainfall Recorded in Certain Areas

During the past 12 hours, the most intense rainfall occurred in the southern foothills of the Julian Alps and a belt stretching from Idrija through the northern part of the Ljubljana Basin to Koroška, where some locations received more than 150 millimeters and, in some cases, even more than 200 millimeters of rain per square meter.

Weather Forecast for the Coming Hours

During the day, the focus of precipitation will shift towards southern and eastern Slovenia, with the potential for more than 200 millimeters of rain per square meter. Showers will develop over Gorski kotar and then, aided by strong southwest winds at higher altitudes, spread over Kočevsko, Dolenjsko, and Bela krajina, moving northeastward through the country, as forecasted by meteorologists at Meteoinfo.si.

Flood Situation and Rivers in Slovenia

According to hydrologists at Arso, the flooded areas along the rivers in Gorenjsko, Koroško, and central Slovenia will gradually subside in the upper sections but intensify in the middle and lower reaches in the next few hours. Throughout the day and night, rivers in the Savinjska, Drava, Mura, Krka, and Kolpa basins will rapidly rise in the middle and lower stretches, with potentially severe flooding in southern and southeastern Slovenia. Particularly in the evening and night, rivers in this broader area are expected to experience extensive flooding.

As the situation remains dire, authorities continue to monitor and respond to the evolving crisis. Citizens are urged to stay informed about weather updates and heed official warnings to ensure their safety during this natural disaster.