Heavy rainfall swells rivers, closes roads

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Strong rains have caused flooding in the town of Ogre, where the Urga river has swollen over its banks and sent waters as deep as 50cm onto the suburban town’s streets and prompting authorities to offer evacuation to some residents, reported LETA Wednesday.

Firefighting and rescue service (VUGD) officers took to their boats to reach residents in Ogre, however most of them declined to leave their properties despite the rising waters in their yards and basements already at several homes by mid-morning. Some told rescuers they would wait until the water reached the 30cm level before deciding to leave.

Neighboring communities near Ogre have also notified VUGD of rising waters in the Ogre river itself and its tributary streams, which were being urgently cleared of forest vegetation and debris blocking the flow already overnight. The tributary Urga, which is supposed to be maintained by the Agriculture ministry, is said to have been allowed to fill with debris rather than being cleaned over the decades.

Latvia’s State Roads agency reports a number of road closures near and around Ogre. However, rains have caused waters to flow onto roads and highways elsewhere around the country, too. Other rivers, primarily in Zemgale and Vidzeme provinces have overflowed their banks into floodplains and levels are continuing to rise.

Riga also continued to deal with flooded streets and giant puddles caused by the drenching downpours.

The heavy rains are forecast to pass over by only mid-day Wednesday, after which dryer conditions will again gradually prevail over the moisture. However, residents should still see much concentrated precipitation in eastern regions of Zemgale, Latgale and Vidzeme provinces.

High temperatures Tuesday will reach between +8 and +10 degrees Celsius, but overnight lows from Wednesday to Thursday are expected to dip to +3 and +8 degrees and remain at these chilly levels during the day.

By Friday skies should begin to clear and the rains dissipate entirely. However low temperatures in Vidzeme may reach to -2 below freezing and daytime highs, despite the return of sunny weather, will stay cold between +2 and +7 degrees.

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