Tallinn hit by heavy rainfall and extensive flooding Tuesday night

Flooding on Reidi tee in Tallinn, overnight July 25-26, 2023.
Flooding on Reidi tee in Tallinn, overnight July 25-26, 2023. Source: Tallinn Transport Board traffic camera footage.

Heavy rain leading to extensive, localized flooding from Tuesday afternoon onward was the latest in the litany of woes to hit the capital.

In a 24-hour period, around 80 percent of the average monthly amount of rain fell on Tallinn on Tuesday, and the city's infrastructure in some cases proved inadequate to deal with it.

Külli Loodla, lead specialist at the Environmental Agency's (Keskkonnaagentuur) meteorological observation department, told ERR that: "In the last 24 hours, i.e. from yesterday morning to this morning (Wednesday-ed.), 67.3mm of rain fell in Tallinn, according to the Harku weather observation station."

This compares with a monthly average for the whole of July of 82mm, meaning Tallinn and environs received 82 percent of that in a 24-hour stretch – actually more like a 14-hour stretch, since the deluge started at around 1 p.m. Tuesday, and continued unabated until around 3 a.m. this morning.

The peak of the downpour came between 1 1 p.m. and midnight – close to 25mm of rain fell in the space of an hour.

Storm drains and other infrastructure proved incapable of coping with that amount of precipitation, a situation which Loodla said was also, in her opinion, abnormal.

Areas of the city to be hit include Reidi tee, opened in late November 2019, to great fanfare.

Meteorologist Kairo Kiitsak shared photos and videos of the flooding via his social media account (see video below), which shows the road resembling rather more of a river, and almost impassable for passenger vehicles.

Reidi tee has been affected negatively by heavy rainfall in the past.

The underground parking lots which are a feature of many new builds in Tallinn are often susceptible to flooding too.

One such incident happened at a garage on Tuukri, in the city center and the scene of flooding events in the past, where the weight of the water had forced barriers down and rendered it impossible to drive in or out, for those wishing to do so at the time the damage was reported (shortly before 2 a.m.).

ERR has asked both Tallinn City Government and Tallinna Vesi, the capital's water supplier, for comment, though none had been received at the time of writing.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Andrew Whyte

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