TIRANA (Reuters) - Rainstorms and floods killed at least three people in Albania on Tuesday and the country braced itself for even worse weather overnight and on Wednesday.
One victim was swept away in his car while trying to drive across a swollen stream, another was found drowned on the banks of the Tirana River and a third blown off his roof by strong winds.
Schools were closed until further notice and the army and emergency services began to evacuate people from some areas.
A new highway linking the capital Tirana with the main port of Durres was severed by flooding and traffic diverted to an old communist-era road further south.
Water inundated some of Albania’s biggest businesses, which have depots and plants along the highway to Durres.
Low-lying agricultural areas in northwest Albania were flooded and some bridges in the mountainous north destroyed. Power supplies were disrupted but most lines had been repaired by evening. Tirana’s tapwater was badly polluted by mud.
The rainstorms are expected to move to central and southern Albania later in the week. Despite the havoc caused, the rainfall will be a boon for the KESH power corporation’s three main hydropower plants on the Drin River.
Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Andrew Roche