Floods uproot hundreds in Albania; heavy snow, strong winds close roads in Croatia, Slovenia



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Floods have forced hundreds of people from their homes in Albania and Macedonia, while heavy snow and strong winds caused traffic havoc Friday in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia.

On the holiday island of Mallorca, six German tourists were stranded by deep snow and were rescued by a helicopter.

A 38-year old woman drowned in Albania after she was swept away from the yard of her home by floodwaters near Pogradec, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of the capital Tirana, police spokeswoman Esmerina Gurishta said Friday.

Some 600 families have been evacuated in four southern districts in Albania after flooding covered more than 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) and killed about 3,500 sheep and cattle, authorities said.

Torrential rains in eastern and southern parts of Macedonia have flooded more than 5,000 hectares and hundreds of houses since the beginning of this week. Army teams were helping local people in southern region of Pelagonia reinforce banks to hold back swollen rivers.

The Macedonian Red Cross said Friday it had delivered food, blankets and drinking water to some 400 families in seven municipalities that have been most affecte.

Travel throughout Croatia was snarled Friday following a massive all-night snowfall. Trucks have been banned from all roads connecting Croatia's mainland with the Adriatic coast, where strong winds have disrupted ferry lines.

In Slovenia, dozens of schools have closed and most border crossings have banned entry for trucks. Still, several trucks slid off a highway in the southeast, temporarily blocking traffic.

Slovenia's Adriatic port of Koper closed down because of gale-force winds.

Heavy snowfall forced authorities in the west of Bosnia to close schools Friday; they are expected to remain closed all next week. Several thousands of homes lost electricity because trees overloaded with snow fell and cut power lines.

Authorities reported the blizzard that hit the north-western town of Bosanska Gradiska on Friday covered the town with five centimeters of snow within just five minutes.

Blizzards have hit much of northern Spain in recent days. Spanish police and military services say they have rescued hundreds of stranded motorists this week.

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