The Greek island of Crete has experienced torrential rainfall and flooding for the second time in 7 days. Some areas of the island have now recorded over 1 metre of rain so far this month.
A weather front, known locally as “Oceanis” brought heavy rain, hail and strong wind to the island from 23 February, 2019.
Greek New Agency ANA-MPA said that authorities in Crete are searching for a man went missing on 24 February after his vehicle was swept away by flood water in Apokoronas municipality. A body has since been recovered.
Local reports say that emergency teams have rescued others from flood water and from vehicles trapped in landslides. Schools and roads have been closed.
According to Meteo.gr, Askifou in Chania recorded 596 mm of rain in 2 days between 23 and February. Sempronas, also in Chania, recorded 496 mm of rain during the storm, which is over 40% of its annual rainfall.
Wettest Month on Record
Hit by two storms, Crete has seen extreme levels of heavy rain during February. Some areas recorded around 400mm of rain between 12 and 17 February, brought by a storm known locally as Hionis. Four people died in the resulting flash flooding in Heraklion regional unit.
Askifou in Chania has now recorded 1,202mm of rain so far this month (to 26 February), breaking the record for the highest monthly rainfall total in Europe, according to Meteo.gr.
Malta, Croatia and Italy
The weather system also affected parts of Malta, which saw winds of up to 133km/h, Italy and Croatia.
In Malta, a combination of high waves, thought to be up to 5 metres, and storm surge flooded some coastal areas, in particular around Xemxija. The Times of Malta described the storm as “the worst since 1982”.
Quoting a statement from the Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, the newspaper said the Civil Protection Department received and assisted in 486 calls in 48 hours during the storm. Fourteen people were evacuated in Sliema and 12 from two localities in Vittoriosa. No deaths or injuries have been reported.
Strong winds were also reported in parts of Croatia and Italy, where 7 deaths have been blamed on the storm, including four in Lazio, one in Campania and two in Sicily. One person is still missing in Sicily.
The dead body of a 61-year-old farmer who went missing when his car was swept away by force of a rain-swollen torrent was recovered on Tuesday, #Crete #floods https://t.co/cfk8VilYgR pic.twitter.com/dAmNab6WO4
— ANA-MPA news (@amna_newseng) February 26, 2019
Malta is experiencing an episode of extreme weather with high waves and gust winds
Our @CMEMS_EU Marine Service delivers forecasts of wave heights which can help to take preventive measures
See the tweet below from @Miriamdalli for in situ validation@MaltainEU @mt_mcst pic.twitter.com/roUddyVtiZ
— Copernicus EU (@CopernicusEU) February 24, 2019
@JosephMuscat_JM statement in #Malta House of Representatives regarding consequences of very bad storm this weekend and how @MaltaGov will assist vulnerable sectors which were hit pic.twitter.com/KDEjV0YXtI
— Helena Dalli (@helenadalli) February 25, 2019