Heavy downpours battered Vilnius on Thursday, forcing authorities to close the Lithuanian capital's western bypass and causing public transport delays and numerous emergencies in the city.
Rain in Vilnius
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

City officials say that it was the heaviest downpour in Vilnius since 1993. Sixteen emerges were registered by noon.

"There were (public transport) delays in the morning. Most of the traffic has resumed now, but nobody can predict what happens in the afternoon or tomorrow," Virginijus Pauža, director of the Vilnius municipality's City Service and Transport Department, told reporters.

According to the official, the heavy rain caused the western bypass' drainage system to clog, flooding the road. He said that thunderstorms had disrupted traffic lights in 15 places in the city.

Kęstutis Vaicekiutis, CEO of the municipal company Grinda, said that 48 mm of rain had fallen between the morning and noon.

"A similar amount of precipitation was registered back in 1993. This is a really extraordinary situation," he said.

Heavy downpours and thunderstorms started in southern Lithuania at around midnight and then moved on to eastern and central areas.

Weather services warn that more downpours and thunderstorms are expected in the afternoon when temperatures are forecast to rise further. The spell of violent weather will continue into the night.

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