On Crete, the water masses wash cars into the sea, flood roads and kill two people. There is talk of a century of rain, even of a “biblical catastrophe”.
Athens – Heavy autumn storms killed at least two people on the holiday island of Crete at the weekend and caused enormous damage. “It was the worst storm in the last 100 years,” Crete’s regional governor, Stavros Arnaoutakis, told the Protothema news portal on Sunday. The daily newspaper “Kathimerini” wrote of a “biblical catastrophe”.
Already on Saturday, a 50-year-old man was swept away in the car by the water masses and drowned. An initially missing 49-year-old could only be recovered dead on Sunday – the water had washed her into the sea. The police and fire brigade recorded countless calls from affected citizens, and the power also went out locally.
Video footage showed masses of water and mud pouring through narrow streets with tremendous force, taking dozens of cars, rubbish and even large boulders with them. The flash floods caused by heavy rains acted like a reverse tsunami – they just swept everything away, geology professor Efthymios Lekkas explained on state radio. The storm raged especially in the region around the Cretan island capital Heraklion.
The city’s airport remained closed for hours on Saturday. Dozens of holiday planes had to be diverted to the western Cretan city of Chania and also to Athens airport because the runway in Heraklion was under water. The situation calmed down on Sunday. According to meteorologists, the storm moved in a significantly weakened direction towards the southern coast of Turkey. dpa