The storm damage to roads, buildings, and the local infrastructure of Crete will exceed €100 million euro, according to the region’s Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis .
The recent torrential rain and gales that hit the island of Crete devastated areas of Chania Prefecture, while causing severe damage to parts of Rethymno and Heraklion Prefectures. According to Governor Arnaoutakis, the full extend of the damage will only be known once ministry experts and local engineers gain a full perspective of the overall destruction. Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis has already pleadged €10 million euros in emergency aid to Crete.
Flooding from the winter storm “Oceanis” killed one person, and did massive damage to bridges and roads across central and western Crete. According to the Athens National Observatory, some 250 mm (9.9 inches) of rainfall hit the region over a three day period, an amount equal to many months of normal precipitation in the region. The average annual rainfall on Crete is no more than 960 mm, or about 38 inches. BBC Weather Tweeted on the destruction of a
Heavy rain and strong winds in Greece have brought widespread damage and flooding, and claimed the life of a man whose vehicle was swept away in Crete. This footage shows an 111-year old bridge on the island of Crete that was brought down. pic.twitter.com/OueKoWDsTb— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) February 27, 2019
News that the Greek Army is deploying military bridges to re-connect the villages which had been linked by the two bridges which collapsed, came as good news to those cut off from Chania and the main highway. According to the minister Spirtzis, this will be only a temporary measure until the bridges can be rebuilt. Yahoo! News cited Nikos Lagoudakis, a senior fire brigade official, describing the situation:
“It’s been raining for six days non-stop, I mean (a) storm, not just rain, an incredible amount of water.”
Western Crete suffered particularly extensive damage as the weather system dubbed ”Oceanis” swept across the western parts of the island on Sunday and Monday. Rainfall continued sporadically throughout Monday and Tuesday, inundating areas farther eastward as well. In the small village of Fodele, which is 27 km west of Heraklion, the river there burst over its banks to flood homes and orange groves that supply some of the islands best citrus crops.
Crete is basically an arid island with slight rainfall, a place where snow runoff from the high mountains fills aquifers downstream to sustain olive, orange, and other crops. The huge amount of rainfall these past days caused rivulets of streams that normally run down from the mountains to be transformed into torrents of water. These brooks made into raging rivers eroded huge swaths to sandy soils, and washed away whole sections of mountain and valley roads.