A red car submerged in rushing flood waters.

This general view shows a car and houses in a flooded area in Volos, Greece, on September 5, 2023.

(Photo: -/EUROKINISSI/AFP via Getty Images)

'This Is Unprecedented': Record-Breaking Rain Brings Deadly Flooding to Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria

"I am afraid that the careless summers, as we knew them… will cease to exist," the Greek prime minister said.

Historic flooding in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria has killed at least 11 people as rain followed heat and fire in a summer of extremes.

The storm knocked out bridges, swept cars out to sea, and made roads impassable, dumping more than two feet of rain on some parts of Greece within hours.

"This is the most extreme phenomenon in terms of the maximum amount of rain in a 24-hour period since records began in the country," Vassilis Kikilias, who acts as Greece's climate crisis and civil protection minister, said, as The Guardian reported.

The torrential rain follows deadly wildfires in the country that killed more than 20, including one megafire that scorched 81,000 hectares of forest, making it the largest in Europe since record-keeping began in 2000, as The Associated Press reported at the time.

Both fires and heavy rains are made more likely by the climate crisis caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. Hotter temperatures generate ideal fire conditions, and the atmosphere can hold around 7% more moisture per 1.8°F of warming. The floods come as the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service determined that summer 2023 was the hottest on record.

"I am afraid that the careless summers, as we knew them… will cease to exist and from now on the coming summers are likely to be ever more difficult," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Tuesday, as The Guardian reported.

"We almost couldn't believe the forecast."

"Correct," Just Stop Oil responded on social media. "It's not getting better. It gets worse until we stop oil and gas."

The immediate cause of the rain was a system called Storm Daniel, as The New York Timesreported. In the 13 hours between 12 am and 3 pm Tuesday, it dumped more than 25 inches of rain on the town of Pelion and its surroundings.

"We almost couldn't believe the forecast," Konstantinos Lagouvardos, the research director at the National Observatory of Athens, told The New York Times. "This is a number we've never seen before. It's unreal."

Another town in the Pelion region, Zagora, saw 21 inches in 10 hours Tuesday, with more predicted to fall.

"A historic flooding event is underway!" European Synchrotron Radiation Facility researcher Nahel Belgherze wrote on the site formerly known as Twitter.

One Pelion resident, Iro Proia, shared a dramatic video on Facebook of cars being pushed out to sea by floodwaters.

Another hard-hit area was the city of Volos, which received approximately 10 times its monthly rainfall in less than 14 hours, as CNN reported. There, the River Krafsidonas overflowed, destroying a bridge, according to The New York Times. One man was also killed in the city when a wall collapsed on top of him, The Guardian reported. Another woman died close to Pelion.

One resident who lives near Volos described the toll of back-to-back extreme weather events.

"Everything saved from the fire we had in July has been destroyed by this bad weather," 49-year-old Christos Kleftakis toldAgence France-Presse. "This is unprecedented—these severe weather events, the strength of the rain, the wind. I've never seen anything like that before."

The death toll was even higher in Turkey, where two people died in Istanbul and four died in the city of Kirklareli, while two remain missing.

In another example of weather whiplash, Istanbul's reservoirs had been at their lowest in nine years before the floods. The storm flooded streets and homes in the capital, closing some subway stations and trapping about 12 people in a library, who were eventually rescued, Al Jazeera reported.

In Bulgaria, the usually dry Black Sea Coast saw its heaviest rainfall since 1994, according to AFP, entirely cutting off the area south of the city of Burgas and killing at least three people.

"It's a disaster," Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said, as AFP reported.

And it's predicted the situation could worsen in the coming days, as Storm Daniel potentially develops into a hurricane-like cyclone over the Mediterranean, also known as a "medicane," CBS News explained.

Such storms usually need sea temperatures of around 79°F to form, and meteorologists said that there was "more than enough warmth."

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