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Rain and quick thaw brings flooding to the Balkans

Early spring after a harsh winter brings the inevitable spring flood to Serbia and Albania.

Albania's army has been deployed in the country's northern region to help hundreds of people trapped by floods following heavy rainfall.

Thousands of hectares of agricultural land is underwater and soldiers are either evacuating residents or bringing in food.

The torrential rain in recent days has caused landslides, damaging dozens of homes and flooding roads.

The transport ministry has reported that the situation has been made worse by excess water being released through hydroelectric dams along the Drin River, a precaution taken to prevent the dams from failing and causing potentially catastrophic flooding.

At the start of the month, Belgrade, Serbia, reported 17cm of snow on the ground and a temperature of -2 Celsius by day after a night at -14C.

A week later, after a day of rain, it was +14C and there was no snow. Tirana, the capital of Albania experienced something similar: a day of snow to start the month and a week later, the afternoon high temperature was 23C.

This story has been repeated throughout much of Europe and such an obvious and rapid thaw has brought consequent flooding. The Balkan states were hit particularly badly by snow only a week before the thaw.

In fact, throughout the last month, it has either snowed - or more recently, rained - virtually every day in Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria and neighbouring countries.

Now the sun has returned, with early spring warmth, and no more significant rain is forecast for the next few days.


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