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Torrential rains lash eastern Austria

Staff reporter · 13 May 2014, 01:20

Published: 13 May 2014 01:20 GMT+02:00

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Heavy rain and strong winds required around 250 firefighting operations in southern and eastern Styria and southern Burgenland over the weekend. 

Emergency services were called to pump out basements and clear the streets of branches and downed trees.

The Styrian Chamber of Agriculture estimated damage amounting to two million euros.

"There was a distinct storm path in the regions of Gleisdorf, Pischeldorf over Kaindorf and up to Hartberg," said Thomas Meier, spokesman for the State Fire Service Association.

In places, up to 66 litres per square metre were measured within a short time, according to the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG.)

In the district of Hartberg - Fürstenfeld alone, over 400 firefighters were deployed.

In Leitersdorf, near Bad Waltersdorf, a renovated farm house threatened to collapse in the early morning hours.

After the outer wall had been reduced in size by about half a metre, the floor of a bedroom collapsed. Fortunately, none of the nine residents were threatened. The fire department stabilized the building with liquid concrete pumped into the basement.

According to the Chamber of Agriculture, there was "enormous damage" to agricultural crops in Ilz, Untersafen, Saifen, Feistritzwerke and Lafnitztal. Mostly affected were crops of corn, squash, vegetables such as Chinese cabbage and tree nurseries.

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Damage caused by flooding is thought to amount to at least 1.5 million euros. It is also estimated there was hail damage amounting to 300,000 euros, as well as damage due to erosion and subsidence.

In Graz, 57 litres of rain per square metre were measured within 24 hours. Because of the increased water level of the river Mur, the waterfront area in the suburb of Wetzelsdorf was closed.

Nearly 60 fire-fighting operations were reported in Burgenland. Mostly these were dealing with fallen trees and flooded cellars and roads. The suburb of Oberwart and especially the region of Pinkafeld were particularly affected.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

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