‘Cold wave, heavy snowfall to leave Istanbul’
A cold wave and heavy snowfall that crippled life in Istanbul for four long days, disrupting traffic and forcing schools to close, will finally leave on March 14, meteorologists have said.
The heavy precipitation that started early March 10 reached its peak on March 13, with 12 kilograms of snow falling over a square meter in Turkey’s most populous city.
The height of the snow reached some 50 centimeters in districts on the Anatolian side. Precipitation caused fog over the Bosphorus, with the field of vision decreasing to some 200 meters on main highways.
“Istanbul witnesses snowfalls in five stages. The fourth stage of precipitation hit the city on March 12 and the fifth on March 13,” said Hüseyin Öztel, a meteorologist.
However, the amount and the speed of snowfalls ramped down as of March 13’s afternoon. The temperatures will turn into seasonal norms with 6 degrees Celsius on March 14 and reach 8 degrees Celsius on March 16.
The city will witness rainfalls on March 17 without any decline in temperature.
Istanbul, which faced severe weather conditions in January as thousands of people got stuck in traffic under heavy snowfalls, was more prepared for snowfalls in March this time.
As most residents preferred to stay indoors, the rate of accidents was significantly low.
The metropolitan municipality shoveled the snow and opened traffic with the help of some 7,000 personnel assigned to around 60 major city points.
Severe weather conditions caused flight disruptions too. Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines and private airliner Pegasus canceled some 407 flights in the city’s two airports on March 13 alone.
The governor’s office hosted some 900 homeless in hotels during the four-day severe weather and made a call to the public to inform them about any people in need on the streets.
Istanbul faced the coldest day on March 12 in the last three decades, with temperatures declining to minus 8 degrees Celsius, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said.
The country witnessed snowfalls in all its regions except the Mediterranean and the Aegean coasts. The Turkish State Meteorological Service especially warned residents in the eastern provinces against frost and avalanches.
“The western provinces may face strong winds coming at a speed of some 80 kilometers per hour,” it said in a statement.