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Storm alert after flash floods

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As Cyprus counts the cost of the extreme weather over the weekend, the Met Office warned the storm has not passed with more heavy rain expected.

Following extreme rainfall mainly affecting the districts of Larnaca and Famagusta, the meteorological services issued a yellow warning for heavy rain and local thunderstorms, with intensity ranging between 55 and 85 mm per hour.

The warning came into effect on Monday morning until 5 pm.

Larnaca and Famagusta residents saw the streets in their towns and villages flood, with authorities responding to scores of distress calls.

On Sunday, the fire department responded to 43 distress calls, mainly from the Larnaca villages of Meneou and Dromolaxia.

The calls involved pumping water from flooded basements of private homes and businesses, opening storm water drains and flooded roads, moving trees, towing vehicles, and rescuing people from their cars on flooded roads.

In one case, help was provided to an elderly woman who could not leave her house due to the rushing waters that had trapped her.

Things were worse in the Famagusta district, where the fire department received 216 distress calls over the weekend. In addition, the district felt the brunt of the extreme weather on Saturday.

Other districts were not hit as badly, with the fire department only receiving one distress call in Nicosia.

In comments to state radio CyBC on Monday, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said authorities were out in full force to record the storm damage.

He said the government would appraise damages and compensate people for loss or damage to their properties.

“The government will be swift in helping out in cases we find that people need state aid,” said Nouris.

“The latest storms should remind people that they should take out insurance policies on their property as the state cannot help out in all cases”.

Nouris said the ministry had instructed crews to focus on property damage in Menou and Dromolaxia.

“We will look into damages in Paralimni and Protaras at a second stage, again focusing on primary residences”.

“The government will be there for people in need.

“We have exhibited our solidarity in past natural disasters.

“We will assess damages and problems and respond to help people with serious problems,” said the minister.

Nouris said there are no people left homeless following the storms.

Roads

Police are also working to solve problems caused to the road network by the severe weather conditions.

Talking to CyBC, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that the road from Artemis Avenue to the Hala Sultan Mosque in Larnaca is closed due to water accumulation.

In Famagusta, the Protaras – Cape Greco road has suffered severe damage, with land subsiding in two places and drivers are asked to be cautious.

All the roads to Troodos are open, although drivers should check for police announcements before heading off.

Over the weekend, major roads in Protaras and Paralimni were closed due to floods, including Protaras Avenue and Kappari avenue.

Roads in Dromolaxia and Meneou had also closed, with police cutting off the roundabout at the entrance of Larnaca Airport for a few hours on Sunday.

Monday’s weather is expected to be mostly cloudy, with isolated thunderstorms, sporadic localised showers, and snow in the higher mountains.

Snow depth at Troodos square is 7 cm.

Maximum inland temperatures will rise to 15C, coastal temperatures to around 17C, and mountain temperatures to 7C.

Weather conditions will improve on Tuesday, with top temperatures climbing to 17C, above the average 15C for the season.