Storm Floods Greek Island, Leaves 7 Dead, Including a Baby

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Seven people, including an elderly couple and an 8-month-old baby, have been found dead as a storm hit the Greek island of Evia, authorities said Sunday. One person was still missing and dozens of others were trapped by floodwaters in their homes and cars.

Greece's meteorological service said parts of Evia saw rainfall that reached 300 millimeters (11.8 inches), some 80% of the annual rainfall for the area, which is only about 375 millimeters (14.8 inches), usually with negligible rain during the summer.

Police say the couple, 86 and 85 years old, were found unconscious in their flooded home Sunday morning in the seaside village of Politika, 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the capital, Athens. The baby was found in a ground floor apartment in the same village. The mayor reportedly said the baby's family were tourists.

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias confirmed the deaths Sunday afternoon and added that two people are missing. The names of the dead and missing were not released.

Later, one of the missing, an elderly woman, was found floating at sea off the coast, sitting on top of a bureau. She had climbed on it just as the floodwaters burst into her house.

Firefighters later came upon the bodies of a 38-year-old woman and her 42-year-old husband outside their home in the inland village of Amfithea.

A river burst through its banks and flooded part of Politika, forcing many residents to climb to the rooftops of their homes. Another river in the village of Bourtzi also burst its banks. Authorities estimated that 3,000 residences had been partially or totally damaged by floodwaters and police said many local roads are impassible.

Heavy rain started falling at about midnight Saturday and firefighters responded to over 50 fires caused by lightning. By late afternoon Sunday, 97 people had been safely evacuated from their homes and cars, 30 of them by helicopter, and over 600 homes had been drained of floodwaters, the fire service said.

Firefighters said they came upon hundreds of dead sparrows after trees were hit by lightning.