On Wednesday afternoon, Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea assured Bucharesters that they have no reason to believe the City Hall is not disclosing all data on weather advisories, pointing out she will file criminal complaints against those who have spread false information.
“In recent hours, a message that transmits false, toxic information – according to which the City Hall hides information that is very useful for Bucharesters, in the sense that this evening’s weather phenomena will allegedly be far more severe than announced this morning at the Crisis Cell set up at the PMB [Bucharest City Hall] – has spread on social media. I want to ask Bucharesters to read and use only official sources, not to believe these toxic messages that were transmitted via social media. Moreover, bearing in mind that this is a very grave act, I’ll file a criminal complaint against those who have spread this false information, because the Criminal Code has an article which clearly refers to this situation – namely the spread of false information that may lead to chaos or panic among the citizens of Bucharest. They have no reason to be distraught or believe we are not offering them all information, because I repeat what I said this morning too: we have information from the ANM, they show that – and this has been confirmed several minutes ago too – the yellow code for wind gusts and storms remains in force, there are no elements to upgrade it to an orange code. This phenomenon will start after 5 p.m.,” Firea said at a press conference.
She pointed out that the critical interval in Bucharest will be from 7 to 8 p.m., according to ANM information, when wind gusts will reach speeds of 55-65 km/h.
DCC: Don’t fall for false rumours
Apocalyptic messages about the storm forecast for Bucharest, meant to frighten the population, started circulating on Whatsapp on Wednesday. A message from an alleged city hall advisor who claimed the situation would be far worse than announced started circulating on the internet and via Whatsapp shortly after Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea set up a crisis cell and warned Bucharesters that strong storms are expected.
A yellow code advisory for storms was set to come into force in Bucharest at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and authorities took precautionary measures. Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea made the announcement on Wednesday morning, so that people would take shelter. Likewise, schools closed at 5 p.m. so students could safely make it back home before the storm started. After this announcement was made, many people started receiving on their mobile phones a message meant to create panic. The message read: “Hi! I know someone who works directly with Firea at the PMB [Bucharest City Hall] and he warned me that the onset of panic is not wanted but the cyclone is far worse than officially announced. By 5 p.m. at the latest we should be sheltered and the cars parked so as not to be vulnerable to toppled trees or falling roofs. It’s unofficial. In your turn, announce those you can.”
City Hall representatives denied sending this message. The Bucharest City Hall stated this is a prank and nothing is being kept secret. Moreover, they recommended citizens to keep an eye on the authorities’ official websites and to pay attention solely to postings on these webpages or to messages coming directly from the representatives of the authorities.
The Department for Civil Contingencies (DCC) also warned that the population should not fall for rumours and should use official information channels. “Don’t fall for rumours, use only official information channels belonging to institutions that have prerogatives in this domain. Bearing in mind other information circulating on various online media, we inform you that the Department for Civil Contingencies is issuing warnings as soon as information is officially made available by the institutions that issue them. For those who have difficulty accessing the DCC application, the problem is known, and we are now working on resizing our server so that it would allow multiple simultaneous accessing,” the department informs.
Windspeed forecast to exceed 50 km/h, rainfall amount to reach about 25 litres/sq.m. in Bucharest
The National Weather Administration (ANM) has forecast windspeeds of over 50 km/h and a rainfall amount of about 25 litres/sq.m. on Wednesday in Bucharest City, ANM representative Gabriela Bancila told a weather command convened at the Bucharest City Hall.
She mentioned that ANM will update the current information in a Code Yellow weather advisory that will also cover the city.
“In Bucharest, atmospheric instability under the code yellow advisory would be of interest in the evening hours and in the first half of the night,” said Bancila.
She said that after 6 p.m. local time the windspeed would gradually intensify.
“We are expecting the critical interval for Bucharest to be between 20:00hrs – 01:00hrs, 02:00hrs, 03:00hrs at night, when storm clouds should emerge. Wind should intensify to about 55-65 km/h and also blow in strong gusts,” said Bancila, adding that windspeed could exceed 65 km/h in some neighbourhoods.
She mentioned that the ANM expects the amount of rainfall to reach approximately 25 litres/sq.m., but in some neighbourhoods it might go up to 30-35 litres/sq.m.
“Most of these quantities should be recorded in a short time of one hour, one and a half hours, two hours at most. After 03:00hrs, the phenomena should start to diminish in intensity. Rain should stop before the morning breaks, but wind should keep blowing in gusts that this time should no longer exceed 40-50 km/h. Therefore, even if the ANM updates the warning message issued today, some increase in windspeed should be expected the next day as well,” Bancila explained.
She added that temperatures would drop significantly.