The Story of a Storm: Varna, Bulgaria

An elderly woman struggles to cross the street in calf-deep water. Cars, light fixtures, and some buildings lie in mangled heaps. Multiple cars are piled up along the sides of the road, dented and beaten. Welcome to Varna, Bulgaria, where rivers of water rush through the streets, leaving devastation in their wake.

See the video of the devastation below: 

The past few days have been an ongoing nightmare for Bulgarians as the offshoots of a severe storm outbreak in Istanbul, Turkey cause widespread damage.  The storm system in Istanbul was about 200km from Varna, and the it continued upwards to wreak havoc on the region.

See footage of the storm in Istanbul, Turkey 

Though the heavy rain in Istanbul left no severe damage and no casualties, the rain left 12 people dead in Bulgaria, many missing, and Bulgaria reeling.

Varna received 4.3 inches of rain in two days, more than double the average monthly rainfall. The floodwaters left Bulgarians in a state of emergency. Today has been declared a day of mourning as residents try to piece together their lives.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Bulgaria as they try to recover from this tragedy.

We looked into our European Total Lightning Network to trace the progression of the storm. As it turns out, we detected lightning gathering 4 hours before it reached the city, ~150 km West of Varna. Whenever severe weather strikes, advance warning is key. 

Heavy rain for the last three days in Varna, Bulgaria. The storm centered around a relatively small area, causing severe flooding, damage, and fatalities.  Credit: WeatherBug.

Credit: WeatherBug-Earth Networks Pulserad

The above image shows heavy rain over the last three days in Varna, Bulgaria. The storm centered around a relatively small area, causing severe flooding, damage, and fatalities.

Credit: WeatherBug-Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

Credit: WeatherBug-Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

Total Lightning showed the gathering storm ~150 km west of Varna at 1:25 pm local time yesterday. The pink bolts represent lightning in the clouds, and yellow bolts represent lightning striking the ground.

Credit: WeatherBug-Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

Purple polygon indicates area of dangerous thunderstorm.
Credit: WeatherBug-Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

At 4:39 PM local time, our system indicated dangerous thunderstorms as the storm moved at 68.46 km/hr.

Credit: WeatherBug - Earth Networks

Credit: WeatherBug – Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

The peak of the storm occurred at 8:45 local time. The storm cell is circled in yellow.

Credit: WeatherBug - Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

Credit: WeatherBug – Earth Networks Total Lightning Networks

Above is all the lightning monitored by EarthNetworks in the area over the course of the storm. Varna is in the center of all the lightning.

Earth Networks’ technologies allow advance warning of major storms and events like this, to inform citizens and governments ahead of time so these disasters don’t catch anyone by surprise.

 

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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