The bodies of 21 people were found Sunday after a torrential downpour hit Macedonian capital Skopje this weekend, flooding the streets and sweeping away parts of roadways. Several people were still missing Sunday.
The storm brought three-and-a-half inches of rain, a total that is more than the average rainfall for the whole month of august. Water levels reached as high as five feet in some areas, the BBC reports, trapping cars in mid and cutting off electricity to many homes. Pictures of the devastation can be seen below.
“Everything was a mess. Televisions, the fridge, the sofa, everything was floating... it was a nightmare,” Baze Spriovski, a 43-year-old who lives in the outskirts of the city, told the BBC.
Starting Sunday, officials declared the area to be a crisis situation. That classification was set to extend for 15 days.
Officials in the capital said the catastrophe was of unprecedented proportion. The flooding came quickly and lasted for just five hours. Some streets were submerged by several feet, Al Jazeera reported. Cars were carried the length of football fields into fields near the roads where they were parked.
The initial death toll was expected to grow immediately once the rains subsided. The country’s military was called in to help with rescue operations following the rains.
Macedonia isn’t the only corner of the world that was expected to be affected by heavy flooding this year. In Florida, residents were advised to expect major flooding from tropical downpours this week. A slow moving storm is expected to drop as much as one to three inches of rain in some communities each day, sometimes within hours. The storm could leave several communities prone to flash floods along the gulf coast.
Officials warn that residents should prepare for possible evacuations whenever flash flooding is a possibility. Driving into deep waters can lead to fatal accidents.