Heavy snowfall paralyzes life in Turkey
ISTANBULHeavy snowfall and snowstorms have paralyzed life in Turkey, with sub-zero temperatures in many provinces across the country, including the largest city Istanbul.
Heavy snow started late on Jan. 6 in Istanbul and snarled traffic in the city. Traffic came to a halt in many parts of the city for many hours, prompting municipality officials to distribute food packets to the people stuck on the roads, some for up to eight hours.
Municipality teams have also been out salting the roads in order to prevent traffic accidents, though many side streets remain closed and the authorities have issued multiple warnings for icing.
The snow depth reached up to 110 centimeters in some districts of Istanbul, hitting 110 centimeters in the district of Çatalca, 65 cm in Arnavutköy, 60 cm in Büyükçekmece and Sultangazi, 50 cm in Başakşehir, Esenyurt, Beylükdüzü and Gaziosmanpaşa, 40 cm in Ağva, Beykoz, Sarıyer and Zekeriyaköy, 35 cm in Alemdağ, Ömerli, Alibeyköy, Kağıthane and Maslak, 25 cm in Uğur Mumcu, Bahçelievler and Küçükçekmece and 18 cm in Üsküdar, Beşiktaş and Bakırköy.
Snowfall continued across both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul as of Jan. 8.
The Bosphorus, meanwhile, was closed to all naval traffic early on Jan. 7 due to the fog caused by heavy snowfall, stated the Directorate General of Coastal Safety. Passage through the Bosphorus from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and vice versa was cut as of 8:55 a.m. on Jan. 7, the statement said.
The winter weather also hit flights and ferry services.
Several airlines cancelled dozens of flights from Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports due to poor weather conditions.
Turkish Airlines (THY) announced the cancelation of all domestic flights scheduled until 5 p.m. on Jan. 8 due to heavy snowfall.
It cancelled 633 domestic and international flights at Istanbul International Atatürk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Turkish Airlines also announced that some scheduled flights had taken place with delays following clearing of the aprons and runways.
Atatürk Airport remains very crowded due to a backlog caused by canceled flights, with 471 flights to destinations abroad having been canceled.
Fast ferry and inter-city sea bus services were also affected by the weather.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin has reportedly been receiving messages from students demanding that schools be closed on Jan. 9, with many tweets noting how hard it is for students to go to school due to the sub-zero temperatures and the depth of the snow.
Schools in Istanbul and several other provinces, including Bursa, are closed for today due to heavy snowfall.
In addition, the General Directorate of Meteorology issued warnings for the western provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ, where heavy snowfall is expected to continue until Jan. 13.