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Hundreds of fire brigade operations: massive storms in Austria – hailstones as big as golf balls fall from the sky

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Storms with heavy rain and thunderstorms have caused enormous damage in parts of Austria. There were floods and traffic accidents, but no one was seriously injured.

Severe storms with heavy rainfall have caused flooding and damage to buildings in parts of Austria. In the Villach-Land district in the southern state of Carinthia, streams burst their banks on Wednesday night, the Austrian news agency APA reported, citing emergency services. In addition, mudslides in the mountains, so-called mudflows, buried houses up to the first floor.

Danger to life in bad weather in Austria

In meetings at Lake Ossiach and in the climatic health resort of Arriach, people were reportedly asked to stay at home with a civil defense warning because there was a danger to life outdoors. “The meeting area is completely flooded and muddy,” said Hans-Jörg Rossbacher from the state alarm and warning center (LAWZ), according to APA.

The fire brigade tried to find out with a police helicopter how many people were stuck in their homes because of the storm. The army was also requested for support, as APA further reported. Because of the mud masses, some areas could not be reached by vehicles, and the emergency services needed heavy equipment.

The fire brigade has been deployed to around 150 missions in several Carinthian communities since Tuesday evening, the report said. There was heavy rain, storms and hailstones the size of golf balls in places in Upper Austria, which caused major damage to agriculture.

“In just a few hours, as much rain as in all of June”

Arable crops, apples and grassland were massively damaged on an area of ​​around 16,000 hectares. “Our farmers are finding it increasingly difficult due to the increasing number of extreme weather events caused by climate change,” quotes “Der Standard” Mario Winkler, spokesman for the Austrian hail insurance company. According to the first surveys, a total damage of 6.5 million euros is to be expected.

According to the APA report, the storm knocked down trees and covered entire roofs. According to the police, a power cable was also cut. Nobody was seriously injured. Gerhard Hohenwarter from the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) said that in Arriach and other places in the region it had “rained as much in just a few hours as in an average June.”

More storms expected in Austria

Around 100 other storm-related fire brigade operations were reported from Upper Austria. According to the APA, it was mostly about flooding of basements, but there were also traffic accidents and roads blocked by trees and lightning strikes on houses and farm buildings.

Even on Wednesday, the situation is still very susceptible to thunderstorms, reports “Der Standard”. Strong storms were again expected in large parts of the country in the afternoon and evening, with the focus east of a line from Passau via Ried im Innkreis to Bad Ischl.

The Upper Austrian Greens saw the storms as “only harbingers” of climate change. A foretaste of “the incredible destruction we face if we don’t finally react,” wrote the Green climate protection spokeswoman Anne-Sophie Bauer.

Sources: “The Standard”