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September 21, 2020

Authorities concerned over possible Danube overflowing

Forecasters warn more rain and storms expected in the next days.

PM Victor Ponta summoned yesterday morning an emergency meeting at the Victoria Palace in order to discuss about the weather-related problems that might hit Romania in the coming days, provoked by heavy rainfalls forecast by weather services. The main worry is the risk of floods caused by the Danube, whose flow will increase on Romanian soil following inundations in the upstream countries it crosses.
The chief of the National Weather Administration (ANM), Ioan Sandu announced in the emergency meeting at the Victoria Palace that in the next two days ANM will issue two yellow code storm and rain warnings. The first yellow code warning was expected to come into effect yesterday and will be in effect until today, in western and south-western Romania. A second yellow code rain warning will be in effect between this morning and tomorrow at 9.00 AM, in effect on the whole country territory. According to the ANM chief, the water quantities that will accumulate will reach 20-25 l/sqm, with peaks of 50-60 l/sqm in spots. Premier Victor Ponta, who is on a state visit to Germany and Slovakia yesterday and today, warned the members of the government that they must promptly react to any problem in the country and warn local authorities when they must act in a timely manner, instead of waiting for the floods to happen and wait for the government to solve the problem instead.
The main issue under debate was the risk of inundation on the Danube, caused by the arrival of the flood wave on Romanian territory. According to the ANM chief, after June 14, when the peak of the wave is expected to reach Romania, the rain amounts will be insignificant and there will no longer exist the risk of water accumulating and overflowing. The management of the National Hydrologic and Water Administration Institute announced that the flow of the Danube, at the entry point in Romania, is now 8,500 cubic meters per second, above the average of June, which stands at 6,400 cu.m./sec., while in Budapest, Hungary the flood wave reached a peak of 891 cm, but Hungarian authorities expect the situation to improve. The institute considers that the maximum flow of the Danube at Bazias will be reached on June 16, at 10,500 cu.m./sec, compared to 11,900 cu.m./sec one month ago, when no particular problems were reported. Premier Victor Ponta demanded the minister of Interior, Radu Stroe to check whether Hungarian authorities need support from Romania.
He also asked local authorities not to wait for the government’s intervention in case of emergency, also for the possible evacuation of people. The premier explained that the local population must be mobilise, because “people generally sit and watch and the government comes to fix the dam or remove the water.” The minister of Administration, Liviu Dragnea said that the Danube will not soar above the flood limit, but the flood wave on the Danube will last “between 3-4 weeks” in Romania and urged the regional and territorial structures of Apele Romane to monitor “every little bit” of dike, because a crack may occur anytime. He also warned against situations like that reported Friday, when the managers of Apele Romane Buzau told him by phone that they are out of solutions for the Ialomita dike that was being eroded. Apele Romane officials told Mediafax yesterday that dam consolidation works on the Borcea Arm, where water was infiltrating, are almost complete and there is no flood danger, according to the present estimations of the Danube flow.
Hydrologists issued a yellow code warning, in effect between yesterday evening and today afternoon, for the small rivers from several basins in the west, north-west and south of the country (upper Jiu and the tributaries of the Olt) and for several river basins in Suceava.
According to the Iasi Prefect’s Office, seven localities from Iasi County, including the town of Pascani, were affected by the rain that fell at the end of last week. In the Vaslui County, 20 houses, 33 household annexes, 10 bridges and 6.8 km of road were damaged by a flash flood last weekend. Firefighters and the volunteer services for emergency situations responded to all these incidents. In fact, according to the Operational Center of the Ministry of Interior (MAI), Sunday at noon over 40 localities from 14 counties were hit by floods, a house from Neamt County was destroyed and 16 others, plus 33 annexes were damaged.
CFR Calatori announced yesterday that the international trains Bucharest-Vienna and return are diverted through Bratislava between Budapest and Vienna, because of inundations in Hungary. A forecast issued by the National Weather Administration (ANM) warns that atmospheric instability will stay in the region for the last two weeks, with showers, lightning and temperatures lower by several degrees being expected throughout the whole country.

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