Authorities cleared a runway at Istanbul Airport on Jan. 25, allowing limited flights to resume. Flights were suspended on Monday for safety reasons at the airport. Istanbul’s second airport, Sabiha Gökcen, was also operating limited services.
Highways and roads in Istanbul became clogged Monday after the storm pounded the city of 16 million that straddles Europe and Asia, dropping more than 80 centimeters (31 inches) of snow in some areas. Stranded motorists spent the night in their cars, abandoned their vehicles to walk home or crowded subways and other limited public transportation.
All highways and main roads in Istanbul were reopened by Tuesday afternoon, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu announced on Twitter, while Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya said restrictions on vehicles traveling into Istanbul were lifted.
In Turkey, authorities recovered the body of a 34-year-old who is believed to have died in heavy snowfall while trying to reach his village in Amasya province, 326 kilometers (202 miles) northwest of Ankara, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the snowfall around Istanbul would continue until Thursday and urged people not to venture out in private cars unless necessary. He said many of the stranded vehicles did not have snow tires.
The severe weather also brought rare snowfall to vacation resorts in Turkey’s southwest region, including Bodrum and Datça, with snow and slippery conditions blocking a highway linking the provinces of Muğla and Denizli.
Antalya city center, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, saw its first snowfall in 29 years, the private NTV television reported.
Authorities in Istanbul suspended intercity bus services Monday and blocked travel to the city from Turkey’s northwestern Thrace region. Civil servants were given leave until Thursday, except for those employed in security, health and transportation sectors. Schools across Turkey were already closed for a winter break and universities decided to close until Jan. 31.
The mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoğlu, said the city provided shelter to around 1,500 homeless people. He said he hoped the snow would fill dams and bring relief to the parched region.
The Balkans was also gripped by freezing weather, with temperatures dropping way below freezing in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia.
Montenegrin authorities said a record national low temperature was confirmed in the northern village of Kosanica, which plunged to minus 33.2 C (minus 27.7 F). In Bosnia, ice formed on the Miljacka River after a minus 15 C (5 F) temperature was recorded in the capital of Sarajevo on Tuesday.
Hurriyet Daily News