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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Storms Batter Black Sea Region

Flooding caused by torrential rains submerged the Black Sea coast Thursday, killing at least two people and leaving more than 100 people missing. Rail links and power were also cut off in parts of the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions.

The downpour came as Europe saw some of its worst flooding in decades, with fierce rainstorms filling London's subway system, ravaging vineyards and olive groves in northern Italy and swamping scenic Austrian villages.

Seven Black Sea villages were flooded, forcing the evacuation of at least 440 people, said Oleg Grekov, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in the Southern Federal District.

At least 100 people were missing, but there were no details on their situation, Grekov said.

Two bodies of flood victims were found in the Krasnodar village of Abrau-Dyurso, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

At least eight people had earlier been reported missing from that village after a local lake overflowed were later found, Interfax reported.

Abrau-Dyurso is famous across Russia for the sparkling wine made from grapes grown there.

Rising waters also submerged tourist camps and resorts in the Stavropol region, sweeping away a number of tourists who were camping near the Black Sea, said Viktor Beltsov, spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry in Moscow.

Beltsov said he did not know how many tourists were missing, but he said 10 people had been picked out of the water alive, two of them in grave condition.

A bus with 25 people was pushed off the road by a mudslide, but all survived and rescuers were working to extricate the passengers, RTR television reported.

Novorossiisk was without electricity Thursday evening as water rose high enough to submerge the ground floor of some houses in the city, trapping residents inside. Cars were also swept into the sea by rising lake waters in what local residents described as the worst rains many could remember.

The Emergency Situations Ministry was sending a flight of rescue personnel from Moscow to the region Thursday evening.

RTR said more than 3,000 people -- including many children -- were stranded in Novorossiisk's train station.

Rains caused a 400-square-meter retaining wall to collapse over railroad tracks near a tunnel leading into Novorossiisk, blocking 10 trains from leaving the city, Grekov said.

Five trains had earlier been blocked from entering the city, he said.

In the Krasnodar region, rain halted trains on routes between Minsk-Novorossiisk and Nizhny Tagil-Novorossiisk, the Railways Ministry said.

Other trains partially resumed service after a two-day standstill but were running 24 to 27 hours behind schedule, the ministry said. Forty-five trains had been stuck, and 16 extra trains have been put on the tracks to make up for the delays.

The rail disruptions started Tuesday when mudslides blocked lines between Sochi and Tuapse.

The Railways Ministry said it has refunded tickets of 4,668 travelers to the tune of 2.526 million rubles ($80,000) in the past two days.

Five repair trains and more than 500 railroad workers are fixing trains and tracks. Railways Minister Gennady Fadeyev inspected the area Wednesday.

Last month, heavy rainfall led to widespread flooding in nine southern regions, leaving more than 100 people dead and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, in London, heavy rainfall caused extensive flooding of the city's subways and train system Thursday, closing several stations and cutting services before the morning rush hour.

In northern Italy, hail and heavy rain battered much of the region earlier in the week, damaging wine grapes, tobacco crops and olive groves. Vineyards in the Veneto region, where the Bardolino and Valpolicella wines are produced, were heavily damaged by hailstorm last weekend.

In Austria, torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding that washed away bridges and roads in the provinces of Upper and Lower Austria and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people cut off from the outside world.

In Romania, two people drowned and hundreds of houses were flooded as storms and torrential rain hit several regions. In the Czech Republic, 2,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes in southern Bohemia, and a 21-year-old student was killed when a falling tree crushed a cottage in Pisek, 90 kilometers south of Prague, Czech state-run radio reported. (AP, MT)