At least three people have died in Slovenia due to severe flooding after more than a month’s worth of rain fell in just 10 hours on August 4, 2023. The catastrophic event caused evacuations, cut off roads, flooded buildings, and prompted the prime minister to describe the situation as ‘catastrophic.’ The floods could be the biggest since Slovenia’s independence in 1991.

Severe flooding resulted in at least three fatalities in Slovenia on August 4, 2023, after parts of the country recorded more than 200 mm (8 inches) of rainfall in just 10 hours — which is more than the region registers during the entire month of August.

The country’s environment agency issued the highest “red alert” — leading to flood alert sirens sounding off in major cities like Ljubljana, Maribor, and Celje.

Around 4 000 people, approximately one-tenth of Celje’s population, were ordered to evacuate as the Savinja River overflowed its banks. Upstream in Ljubno, the same river caused landslides and swept away houses. Tragically, two foreign tourists and a Slovenian woman died as a result of the storm, with the circumstances of their deaths still under investigation.

Prime Minister Robert Golob referred to the flooding as a record event, possibly the largest since Slovenia’s independence. The situation prompted him to close key freeways and rail lines that connect Ljubljana with the northern part of the country, rendering some villages inaccessible. Power cuts affected 16 000 households, and bridges and several homes were damaged.

Defence Minister Marjan Sarec highlighted the seriousness of the situation, and the army joined rescue and fire teams to provide aid. Road blockages and landslides further impeded access to central towns such as Skofja Loka, where over 100 buildings were flooded, including a sports hall. Helicopters were deployed for evacuations, and the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief registered over 1 000 weather-related incidents within a 12-hour period.