Death toll in Russia flooding hits 150
Some parts of the Black Sea region were pounded by a foot of rain in 24 hours.
The death toll rose to at least 150 on Sunday from severe flooding in the Black Sea region of southern Russia that turned streets into rivers, swept away bridges and inundated thousands of homes as many residents were sleeping.
President Vladimir Putin flew to the region and ordered investigators to determine whether more could have been done to prevent the deaths.
Torrential rains dropped up to a foot of water in less than 24 hours, which the state meteorological service said was five times the monthly average.
The water rushed into the hard-hit town of Krymsk with such speed and volume early Saturday that residents said they suspected that water had been released from a reservoir in the mountains above. Local officials denied this, saying it was not technically possible to open the sluices.
Federal investigators, however, acknowledged Sunday that water had been released from the reservoir, but they insisted it did not cause the flooding and the dam had not been breached.
Heavy rain also fell in Gelendzhik, a popular seaside vacation spot about 200 kilometers (120 miles) up the coast from Sochi, where preparations are under way for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Novorossiisk, a major Black Sea port, also was affected.
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