At least 21 people have been killed in flash flooding following torrential rain in the Macedonian capital Skopje on Saturday evening.

During the rainstorm, which raged for five hours, Skopje saw approximately 93 litres of rain for every square metre, flooding some streets to a depth of several metres. Landslide and power cuts were also reported.

"This is a catastrophe of unprecedented proportion," Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Todorov said on Sunday, adding that the death toll may rise further.

Flooding swept away a section of a ring road around Skopje and cars were carried hundreds of metres into nearby fields, a Reuters reporter said.

The military took part in rescue operations and though the rain had stopped on Sunday morning, and water levels were receding, more rain was forecast for the evening in the capital.

Further north in the Balkans, in Croatia, heavy winds caused disruptions on some roads, including the closure of a highway linking the capital Zagreb to southern coast for lorries and buses, local media said.

People cry after they lost a member of their family in the heavy storm that hit the country near the village of Stajkovci, Skopje, [EPA]
A girl begins to clean up her flood hit home in the village of Stajkovci, Skopje. [EPA]
People leave their flood-hit homes in the village of Stajkovci, Skopje, [EPA]
A man sits next to his car which was swept into a field near the ring road around Skopje, [EPA]

Source: Agencies