BUCHAREST — A storm packing powerful winds ripped off roofs and toppled trees in Romania on Sunday, killing eight people and injuring dozens more, authorities and witnesses said.
With gusts that reached nearly 100 kilometres an hour, the storm pounded the area around the western city of Timisoara before heading north toward Ukraine.
Most of the victims were outside when the winds swept in. One man was hit by a falling tree, another by a billboard. Two children were in hospital in critical condition.
The interior ministry reported that 67 people were injured in the unexpected storm.
"Trees and roofs were torn off. Trucks were flipped over, water and electricity were cut off," Timisoara’s mayor Nicolae Robu told TV channel Digi 24.
"We weren’t warned about this. The weather report only called for rain," he added.
Teodora Cumpanasu of Romania’s national meteorology agency, classified the storm as having a "rare intensity" and being "unexpected".
In particular Cumpanasu blamed an abnormal, several-day long accumulation of hot air that stagnated in the atmosphere. Temperatures were above 30 degrees Celsius in Romania on Sunday.
The storm killed five around Timisoara before travelling 400 kilometres north and striking other areas along the way.
"Everything happened very fast," Romania’s interior minister Carmen Dan said. — AFP