Greece’s biggest island Crete hit by powerful storm, causing flooding of houses, roads and trapping people in their cars.
A man died and a woman was missing after powerful storms caused flooding on Greece’s biggest island of Crete, authorities have said.
The Greek fire brigade said on Saturday that a 50-year-old man died and a woman was missing after their car was carried away in flash floods in the town of Agia Pelagia, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) northwest of Iraklio.
They recovered the man from the vehicle that washed into the sea after it was swept up by raging waters.
Divers from the coast guard and the fire department’s Special Disaster Unit were searching for the woman.
The fire brigade has received hundreds of calls from people asking to bring them to safety or pump water out of flooded buildings on the island, a fire brigade official said.
Authorities said they were investigating more reports of missing people and feared others may have been trapped in their cars.
But gale force winds were continuing to blow across most of the island.
At least 10 cars have been seen floating in the sea off the coast of Agia Pelagia, which appeared to be the hardest hit area on the island.
Firefighters rescued a woman who was trapped inside her car before it was flushed into the sea.
On the east side of the island, residents of the Lasithi area received an SMS text message warning them not to leave their homes. Meanwhile, on the western side of the island, houses have been flooded in the city of Chania, according to regional officials.
Four people were trapped in two vehicles in the city of Sitia, about 265km (165 miles) from Chania. Eight tourists and a guard were trapped inside the town’s archaeological museum, according to the local police.
In Crete’s largest city Iraklio, several roads are flooded and the international airport has closed because of flooded runways.
“No one can tell when flights will resume,” airport manager Giorgos Pliakas told a local news site.
In August 2020, heavy rains and thunderstorms caused flash flooding on the central Greek island of Evia, killing at least seven people including a baby.
Natural events such as flash floods are expected to intensify in Greece as climate change will make them more frequent and more intense in the future.