Turkey is finally under a cold spell as warned by meteorological authorities, with heavy snowfall and blizzards moving across the country, causing travel disruptions, while also serving as an opportunity for children to enjoy their winter break making snowman.
Turkish Airlines urged passengers to check updates on its website for flights from Istanbul Airport and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Some planes were diverted to other airports and passengers could be hosted at hotels, it added.
Snowfall and freezing blizzards were more concentrated in Turkey’s central and eastern regions last week, but temperatures also significantly dropped in the country’s west and northwest starting on the weekend.
Istanbul experienced light snowfall on Jan. 22 as the sun appeared occasionally, but a strong blizzard that started late on Jan. 23 left the high parts of the Turkish metropolis with a layer of snow reaching a depth of 40 centimeters.
Snowplows belonging to local authorities worked on main roads and streets, with municipal teams increasing their efforts to salt the roads to prevent icing. However, it did not fully prevent traffic accidents.
Three people were killed in a bus accident in Istanbul’s north, while another 18 were injured when a bus crashed into a ditch as the driver lost control of the vehicle. The wounded citizens were taken to nearby hospitals immediately.
Due to possible risks of slippery roads caused by snowfall, the Istanbul Governor’s Office has suspended activities of motorcycle couriers who work for restaurant or market chains for delivery services until further notice.
Vessel passage Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait was also temporarily suspended as visibility dwindled to less than half a mile due to intensive fog.
Some major highways across the country, including two that connect Istanbul to the capital Ankara, were closed due to heavy snowfall and blizzards that took hold late on Jan. 23, with thousands of people stranded in their vehicles.
Some of the passengers stranded in their cars were taken by authorities to nearby city centers, in particular to Bolu, to spend the night. Bolu Governor Ahmet Ümit said it has been the heaviest snowfall so far since the 1950s in the region.
With the first light of Jan. 24, both D-100 and the Trans-European Motorway (TEM) were reopened following the efforts of authorities to clear the snow.
According to Turkish State Meteorological Services (TSMS), heavy snowfall and cold waves will continue to affect a significant part of Turkey until the middle of the week.
Children enjoyed snow
Due to the fact that primary and secondary schools are on semester break, the streets and parks covered with snow were flooded by children.
In major parks and on steep streets, children slid downhill with their wooden and plastic sleds. Some university students were also seen playing in the snow along with children, as the final exams have been postponed due to adverse weather conditions.
Hurriyet Daily News