A terrific storm hit Tbilisi last night. Heavy rain started at about 10pm local time and lasted for about three hours. The state agency for weather monitoring and forecast reported 93 millimeters of rainfall within that period.
The Mtkvari river was initially reported to have burst its banks but officials later confirmed that the heavy rainful had washed mud, trees and debris into water collectors, blocking them and causing a muddy torrent to flood several neighborhoods.
The worst affected area was Ortachala district. The deadly torrent trapped people in their homes and claimed the lives of a mother and her two children, an elderly woman and an elderly man. One of the children was six months old; the other was five.
Buildings were flooded or heavily damaged, trees were uprooted and cars overturned. According to eyewitnesses, the water rose to 3 meters (10 feet) in some areas.
President Saakashvili visited the most affected areas today and met with the local residents in Ortachala. He expressed condolence over the death of five people and pledged to provide shelter to all those left without homes as a result of the flood.
It has been a very sad day for Tbilisi.