Flights canceled, roads locked due to snowfall, storms across Turkey
ISTANBULHeavy snowfall and storms across Turkey paralyzed ordinary life, blocking roads and leading to the cancellation of many domestic and international flights.
Turkish Airlines announced on Dec. 30 that it had cancelled a total of 258 scheduled flights due to bad weather conditions.
The national flight carrier announced that it had cancelled flights planned for Dec. 29, 30 and 31, urging its passengers to monitor the latest updates on official websites or call centers before their flights.
Snow closed village roads in Bingöl and Elazığ in eastern Turkey, with transportation cut to 11 villages due to heavy snowfall. Some 270 village roads out 278 were reportedly reopened by governorate teams.
In Ağrı and Ardahan, large icicles emerged under roofs of buildings, while locals covered their vehicles with blankets and bags to prevent them from freezing.
An avalanche covered part of the highway between Ardahan-Artvin before it was cleaned shortly after.
Heavy snowfall and storms also affected electricity distribution, especially in Istanbul.
The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry issued a statement on Dec. 29 following the massive blackout, saying it was related to the inclement weather conditions.
“The downpour and storms caused a temporary malfunction on electricity lines,” said the statement, also noting that the blackout hit the Marmara provinces of Sakarya and Kocaeli.
In Istanbul, the blackout hit the districts of Gaziosmanpaşa, Bayrampaşa, Fatih, Bağcılar, Sultangazi, Güngören, Büyükçekmece, Çatalca, Esenyurt, Bahçelievler, Beylikdüzü, Küçükçekmece, Bakırköy and Eyüp.
Many districts on the Asian side of Istanbul were also reportedly affected.
Local energy distribution company BEDAŞ also stated that electricity could not be provided on the main national electricity network due to the weather conditions.
The blackouts partially continued on Dec. 30.
Meanwhile, around 100 vehicles were stuck on the roads in the Uludağ district, known as a winter tourism hotspot in the northwestern province of Bursa. People heading to Uludağ for a holiday were forced to wait for help from the local gendarmerie forces for hours.
Vehicles stuck in the snow were eventually rescued by the gendarmerie force’s nine snowbikes and a utility track vehicle (UTV).
The gendarmerie also distributed food to drivers who were stuck in snow, which reached depths of over two meters.
Elsewhere, drivers were directed to roadhouses in the Alacabel part of the Konya-Antalya highway after the road was closed by snow.
Seydişehir District Governor Aydın Erdoğan stated that heavy snowfall had been continuing for four days, which had a big effect on transportation.
Education at many schools in 21 provinces in central and northern Turkey was halted on Dec. 30 due to the winter conditions.
In Istanbul, one person was killed and another remains missing after their boat capsized late on Dec. 29 in the Beylikdüzü district. The boat, carrying three people, set sail from the Ambarlı port in Beylikdüzü, after which the body of İlyas Bostancı was found. Yılmaz Bodur was saved alive during search and rescue operations, which were halted for the missing Hüseyin Kahraman due to bad weather conditions.
In the southern province of Mersin, three people were lost in a flood that killed two people on Dec. 29. Teams were unable to find the three missing people despite the retreat of floodwaters as of Dec. 30.
One of the missing local was reportedly a two-year-old infant who was dragged into the floodwater, dropping from the vehicle that was driven by her parents. One of the other people reportedly missing was a 21-year-old university student who dropped into floodwater while he was trying to take a selfie.
Meteorology officials said they expected snowfall to start in Istanbul late on Dec. 29 and continue sporadically through Dec. 30 and 31.