Tunca River floodwaters deluge Edirne in NW Turkey

After topping the flood plain, a river in northwestern Turkey is deluging bridges, cars, and historic areas.

Discharge from the Tunca River, located in the northwestern province of Edirne, jumped from 38 cubic meters per second to 308 per second within 24 hours, later inching back to 301 cubic meters per second, according to Turkey's State Waterworks Directorate.

Floodwaters have stranded small vehicles trying to cross the historic bridges over both the Tunca and the Meric River, a tributary of the Meric.

Both rivers flow in across the frontier in Bulgaria, which borders Edirne.

Floodwaters partially submerged major historic sites in Edirne such as the Justice Pavilion, the Balkan Martyrs' Cemetery, and Kirkpinar Contest Field, the site of wrestling tournaments for hundreds of years.

The bridges over the Meric and Tunca are currently closed to traffic.

Discharge from the Meric River also jumped from 327 cubic meters per second to 1,327 cubic meters within 24 hours, and later soared as high as 1,368 cubic meters per second.

Several farmhouses near the riverbanks were also flooded.

Cross-border assessments

Gunay Ozdemir, Erdine's governor, later described the latest situation with the floodwaters as stable.

Now Bulgarian officials and our regional state waterworks directorate are evaluating the situation together. The situation is stable for now, he told reporters.

Mentioning the small drop in the Tunca's discharge, Ozdemir said the situation may change depending on melting snow and rain across the border in Bulgaria.

The Meric River also crested its banks in 2015, reaching its highest level in 31 years at 2,149 cubic meters per second.

With the rising floodwaters, roads leading to Greece and Edirne's Karaagac neighborhood were closed and people were evacuated.

Rising levels of sand at the bottom of the Meric could lead to further floods in the years to come even with a smaller water flow, experts fear.

Source: Anadolu Agency