DISCUSSION: Torrential rainfall in Skopje left nearly 2 dozen people dead late Saturday night. Nearly 4 inches of rainfall was recorded in a very short amount of time. The city typically receives about 3 inches of rain for the entire month of August, and 35 inches for the entire year. Warnings were issued earlier in the day on Saturday, however many were caught off guard by the intensity of the rainfall. Underpasses quickly became lakes as the rain continued to fall, trapping motorists in their cars. Macedonia’s top weather official called this storm a “water bomb”, as he described the ferocity of the rainfall. The Mayor of Skopje claimed that this was “a disaster we have never experienced before.” He also promised financial aid to all of those affected by the flooding. Officials say that this is the worst flooding to strike the region in over 50 years. A slow moving weak trough, or area of low pressure, is being blamed for the rainfall.
Volunteers began to setup donation centers across the capital as residents began to survey the damage. Health officials advised people to only drink out of bottled water until a complete health assessment can be conducted on the city’s water quality. Authorities have declared a crisis situation in the nation’s capital for at least the next 15 days to aid in the recovery efforts. The Macedonian Army was also called in to assist those in need following the flooding. According to local media, the government has declared Monday to be a day of national mourning, as the capital continues to cleanup in the aftermath of the storm.
Showers and thunderstorms were in the forecast for today, but thankfully the city escaped more heavy downpours. Officials are worried about any additional rainfall as the ground is now completely saturated and unable to hold any more water.
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