Schools, roads close as locals struggle with snow across country

Schools, roads close as locals struggle with snow across country

Schools, roads close as locals struggle with snow across country

Heavy snow has blanketed most parts of Turkey, causing chaotic scenes in traffic everywhere and postponements in face-to-face education in 52 of all 81 provinces.

Many highways connecting provinces have been blocked, but the southeastern province of Gaziantep experienced the snowfall the harshest late on Jan. 18.

The main road connecting Gaziantep to Adana province was blocked when a truck got out of control due to heavy snow and nearly 3,000 people had to spend the night in their vehicles.

Local authorities delivered more than 9,000 food packages to the people trapped in the traffic. The road was re-opened at around 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 after massive efforts to shoveling the ice and snow. Gaziantep Governor Davut Gül said thousands were saved from the chaos.

Gül said the snow that fell that day only was as much as snow that would have normally occurred in three months.

Gaziantep, for the first time in 54 years, witnessed one-meter thick snow, daily Hürriyet reported.

A prominent meteorologist, Orhan Şen said the snowfall in the city will come to an end as of Jan. 20, but the cold weather will continue.

In another southeastern province, Mardin, a multiple-vehicle collision occurred due to snowfalls, killing one and injuring some 11 people.

Two highways, one connecting the capital Ankara and the northwestern province of Bursa and the other connecting Istanbul and the neighboring province of İzmit, were also closed. It took hours to reopen them to traffic.

The highway in the Black Sea province of Bolu was also blocked as a truck veered off the road.

Due to the heavy precipitation, face-to-face education was postponed on Jan. 19 in various districts of 52 provinces for a day. Local authorities in eastern provinces declared that decisions for school closures will be taken daily. As the snowfalls are expected to continue until the beginning of next week, many schools are expected to be closed again in various provinces.

Many roads to villages have also been blocked by snow across the country. In the Black Sea region, people in some 1,600 villages were struck. Connection to more than 1,800 villages in the country’s east were closed, with the Elazığ province taking the lead with more than 500 isolated villages.

All eyes are on Istanbul as the State Meteorological Service announced that a new wave of snowfall will arrive in the city on Jan. 22.

The city witnessed snow blankets only in some districts on the Asian side last week. Experts estimate that the new snow wave will blanket the entire city.

Temperatures will decrease by three degrees Celsius and the snow will last for four days in Istanbul, starting from Jan. 22, the experts forecast.