Snowstorm brings Turkey to a halt

Even shipping in the Bosphorus has been brought to a halt by Turkey's harsh weather and the heaviest snow in 10 years.

    Hundreds of villages have been cut off as snow and icy conditions close many roads across Turkey. [AFP]

    Wintry weather set in across Turkey with a vengeance this week…as forecast. Heavy snowfall caused widespread disruption by Wednesday. Traffic ground to a standstill across much of the country and hundreds of schools were closed.

    This is the same storm that brought heavy snow across Greece over the weekend. The snow started falling in Istanbul on Monday.

    While major roads did remain open, many of the smaller roads were badly affected. Indeed roads to hundreds of villages around Turkey were blocked by the snow.

    Meanwhile, high winds forced many ferry services to be cancelled.

    Similarly, the Bosphorus Strait, Turkey’s key shipping route, was closed for two days due to strong currents and reduced visibility.

    Heaviest snowfall

    Ankara found itself ill-prepared for what was to come. Over 50cm of snow fell over the city on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was the heaviest snowfall there in 10 years.

    Blizzards left travellers stranded and solid ice made road conditions extremely dangerous, forcing many drivers to abandon their cars.

    Further south, the snow provided a somewhat prettier picture. Residents of the Mediterranean province of Antalya woke up to find a dusting of snow on their orange and lemon trees. A rare sight indeed.

    Drier, quieter weather is now easing in from the west. This will give way to crisp sunshine as temperatures still struggle to get above freezing.

    Indeed, it will be the start of next week before daytime highs will approach 8 Celsius, and even that remains some 3 degrees below the March average.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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