Heavy Rains Raise Concerns Over Dam Stability in Klagenfurt, Austria

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent has years of experience and training in open source intelligence gathering and journalism. He specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs, with a broader interest in European politics. Trent serves as the Latin America Desk Chief for Atlas News.

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Heavy rains have raised concerns over the stability of a dam close to Klagenfurt, the capital city of Austria’s southern region of Carinthia, leading authorities to engage in a civil protection alert in the city and in other areas in the region. Authorities have been deployed to verify the integrity of the dam, while civilians have been notified to prepare for a possible dam break.

“First responders have gone out 124 times so far. The problem areas are Viktring and Waidmannsdorf,” Mayor Christian Scheider explained after a crisis meeting on Friday evening.

Viktring and Waidmanssdorf are both municipalities of Klagenfurt.

Responders have utilized water pumps in order to divert water away from the dam in an effort to minimize pressure on the dam.

“We have laid about 200 meters (656 ft) of hose and have pumped out as much water as possible to get the situation under control.” Wolfgang Germ, head of the emergency staff of the fire department, told the Kleine Zeitung, an Austrian news outlet.

The pumps have successfully diverted enough water to bring the situation under control, according to Klagenfurt’s fire department; however, responders are still on “high alert.”

(Photo – APA)

The beaches of Klagenfurt are still experiencing large-scale flooding, however. “There are also some basements flooded, some threatened with flooding,” Scheider said. The disposal department, which handles the disposal and cleanup of raw materials, auxiliary materials, or consumables that are no longer used as well as responding to ecological issues, of the state capital is also in operation.

70 homes were also evacuated in the town of St. Paul in the Lavant Valley as a precautionary measure.

(Photo – Kleine Zeitung)

Austria isn’t the Only Country Affected:

Flooding has also severely affected Slovenia, where railways and motorways were flooded, impeding rescue efforts and logistical operations.

Numerous border crossings connecting Austria and Slovenia have been shut down because of severe flooding, debris, and mudslides. The Loiblpass, in particular, was heavily affected, experiencing an astonishing 200 liters of rain per square meter overnight on Friday, as reported by the motorists’ association OAMTC. This extreme weather has left the Predor Karavanke tunnel as the only accessible route in the region. In the past 24 hours, Loiblpass has received an unprecedented 200 milliliters of rain, equivalent to the typical monthly rainfall.

A psychiatric hospital in Begunje, which is located in northern Slovenia, was among those evacuated as the basement and ground floor were flooded. The patients were brought to other facilities. While other buildings in Skofja Loka, 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of Ljubljana, the capital, also faced mass flooding.

Rescue workers in Slovenia have utilized helicopters in their search for survivors and those in danger from the floods.

Rains are expected to continue until Sunday evening, leaving many with concerns over future flooding and the aftermath of the harsh conditions.