Weather tracker: heavy rain and severe flooding hit the Balkans

Six people killed amid evacuations and significant damage, with Albania particularly badly hit

In Europe, flooding due to heavy rain has killed six people, prompted evacuations and caused significant damage in parts of the Balkans. Low pressure centred over southern Italy brought moisture-laden south-westerly winds across the region through the weekend. The resulting torrential downpours led to the flooding of hundreds of homes, as well as thousands of acres of agricultural land. Parts of Albania were particularly badly hit, with up to 400mm of rain falling in 12 hours on 20 November, causing the Drini River to burst its banks by about 100mm. In nearby Montenegro, heavy rain caused the Morača River to rise by over 4 metres in 10 hours.

Storm Denise brought heavy rain and strong winds to Spain and Majorca later on Monday 21 November and into Tuesday. A wind gust of 84mph was recorded at Serra d’Alfabia in Majorca and the fire brigade was called to 10 incidents, ranging from fallen trees to mountain rescues. The strong winds also caused damage to boats in Port de Soller. The storm brought significant waves, with some reaching up to 5 metres in height.

Meanwhile, after a prolonged period of intense snowfall, parts of New York state in the US have had some relief this week, as conditions turned milder for Thanksgiving week. A meteorological process called “lake-effect” snowfall was responsible for potentially record-breaking snow accumulations in parts of the state. This process occurs when cold, dry air passes over relatively warm bodies of water, providing the energy for frequent heavy snow showers, often training over the same downwind areas. The worst-affected areas included Buffalo County to the north-east of Lake Erie, and counties north-east of Lake Ontario. As of 7am on 20 November, 50-130cm (1.5-4ft) of lying snow was recorded widely in these areas. Orchard Park in Erie County lay underneath almost 2 metres (6ft 5in) of snow as of 7am on Saturday 19 November, with 167cm (5ft 6in) of this falling in a 24-hour period on 17 and 18 November. If confirmed, this would smash the existing county record for snowfall in a 24-hour period by 40cm (1ft 4in).

Matt Feist (Metdesk)

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