After a series of fierce thunderstorms in Sofia, which were accompanied by excessive rainfall, several metro stations filled with water. Passengers had to wade through water up to their knees in several stations.
Photos and videos uploaded to social media websites showed rather large amounts of water flowing down the stairs, and via the station platforms onto the track bed. Floodings of this kind have not been registered in the Bulgarian capital in several years.
The Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, said the fire brigade and metro staff were dealing with the floodings. But the metro was still operational. Some entrances to stations, such as the one in the tunnel under the National Palace of Culture, had to be closed.
Basements, garages and some streets and tunnels were also flooded after the thunderstorms. On Boulevard Evlogi i Hristo Georgiev, some parts were flooded. The same applied to streets in the Mladost quarter and elsewhere.
Just minutes ago, Mayor Fandakova announced that several bus and tram lines had to be rerouted, because of all the water. The fire brigade, the traffic police and teams of technicians were working on getting rid of the floodings, and on resolving other issues.
Boulevard Dondukov was affected as well. So were Kozloduy Street, Vazrazhdane Square and many other spots in Sofia.
At 8:45 p.m., Yordanka Fandakova stated that many floodings on streets had already been dealt with and the traffic restored.
The NGO “Spasi Sofia” (“Save Sofia”) took the opportunity to criticize the city’s infrastructure. “Moments like this one remind us how important it is to have an infrastructure of high quality”, a statement read. This was not just a question of mobility, but in some cases one of life and death, “Spasi Sofia” said.
While Sofia Municipality is having streets repaired, many others are still in a terrible state. So are other parts of the infrastructure, including the drainage system and the electricity grid. Decades of communism and many years of indifference have left their mark.
Recently, similar floodings had been reported in Burgas and Varna as well, after thunderstorms at the Black Sea coast.
Update June 19th, 08:30 a.m.: According to Mayor Fandakova, the emergency hotline 112 was called 1,500 times since yesterday’s fierce thunderstorms. Emergency workers were busy all through the night. They pumped water out of basements and underpasses.
Deputy Mayor Todor Chobanov countered the criticism of Sofia’s infrastructure by posting a video from Berlin, where a “little waterfall” recently flooded U-Bahn stations (U-Bahn is the Berlin underground).