Everything started on Monday: heavy rains and terrible storms accompanied by extremely strong wind have been rolling by the whole country. Firefighters have been working almost round the clock for the whole past week.The wind was breaking trees and blowing off roofs, countless lightnings were causing fires. Water was rushing into cellars, basements, flooding ground floors, underpasses, and underground car parks – washing away everything it found on its way almost across the whole country, starting from Lower Silesia up to the Baltic region. Flood alert was announced in many districts, mainly in the area of Jelenia Góra (Lower Silesia).
Northwards and back down south
The horror struck southern Poland first: with whirlwinds, heavy storms, rain and hail destroying many houses and trees, blocking streets and main roads, killing one person in Silesia and hurting several more, including firefighters trying to remove the damages and help the injured. Reservoirs got overflowing quickly and many rivers and streams burst their banks intensifying the floods.
Warsaw, in turn, had to face a subway breakdown. Some stations were flooded and excluded from use for several hours. Cars were floating loose and there was almost zero-visibility during the storms. That is why all the streets and the city’s bypass were jammed for hours. Strong wind caused damages in parks and forests, some roofs also couldn’t stand the pressure and were ripped off. People from Mazovia reported satellite dishes, roof tiles and advertising banners flying freely in the air.
Firefighters have been doing their best to react as quickly as possible to the never-ending reports coming from almost everywhere. The police decided to block flooded streets to avoid cars floating out of control.
In Gdansk, for instance, Grunwaldzka Street (the main and usually mostly congested street of the city) has been completely blocked from early morning hours till 10 o’clock today. On top of that, the half-flooded trams were not running at all, which meant heavy traffic coming through side roads, which were not really prepared for such numbers of vehicles. There was only one way to get out of the city in the morning (apart from using your own jet) and not be stuck for hours – SKM trains (Fast Urban Railway). Even though they weren’t functioning properly (because of falling trees and pouring rain), it was still the fastest way to get to Sopot or Gdynia.
The situation seems to be improving right now: the sun came out and the firefighters were able to drain most of the water from the streets. Regular traffic should be restored soon.
About 4,000 people in Gdansk only lost access to electricity. Similar aftermath of the events from the last few days can be observed across the whole country: hundreds of thousands of people with no electricity, flooded buildings (including hospitals), damaged cars, fallen trees, traffic out of order and people staying at home, being afraid to be stuck in mud or water again.
Fortunately, weather forecasters have some comforting news: the storms and rains are over (at least for now) and starting from Friday the weather will be improving, and the next week is going to be warm and peaceful. They say one can never trust a politician and a weather forecaster, but let’s hope it really is over now.