Hundreds of firemen continued to battle “catastrophic” weather conditions in parts of Austria over the weekend as the rain became so severe it brought down a crane on a building site.
Fire services were called out to large parts of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria and Burgenland to pump water out from streets, houses and car parks as well as removing upturned trees from roads.
“Pure chaos” was how one fire service commander described the scene in the municipality of Grünbach in Freistadt, Upper Austria, which was hit by nearly 25 litres of rain per square metre over Saturday and Sunday morning.
“It is catastrophic here,” commander Roman Primetzhofer told the ORF, adding that the fire service were unable to use their vehicles due to the water unhinging many of the manhole covers.
Hundreds of firemen were called out in Styria where in the market town of Gratwein-Straßengel the rain was strong enough to cause a crane to topple over.
“It could have ended fatally, had the crane fallen in another direction. Then it would have fallen in the middle of a settlement,” said fire department spokesman Roman Hussnigg.
Lightning strikes also set fire to a 140-metre-high wind turbine in the Energy Park near Parndorf in Burgenland. Firemen were quickly on the scene but the fire had already been put out by the rain by the time they arrived.
Although in most areas the weather had calmed by Sunday, in Vienna a storm early Sunday evening interrupted the Rock in Vienna music festival, although it resumed when super group Iron Maiden came on as the headline act.
It came just days after a rock festival in Germany was cancelled due to lightning strikes that hurt around 80 fans.