Snow storms paralyze life across Turkey
AA PhotoHeavy snowfall ahead of New Year’s has paralyzed life across Turkey, as some flights and ferries were canceled, schools were closed and snow-covered roads inhibited access to thousands of villages in the eastern parts of the country.
Turkish Airlines and low-cost Turkish carrier Pegasus canceled 221 flights scheduled for Dec. 31, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016, due to the snow storm.
A snow team was formed at Istanbul Atatürk Airport to continuously monitor runways against frosting and engage in de-icing work to keep the airfields useable.
City ferries were also affected by the weather conditions as ferries running between Istanbul’s European and Asian coasts, including those between Kadıköy, Beşiktaş, Eminönü and Çengelköy, were canceled.
The Istanbul Fast Ferries Company, colloquially known as “İDO,” also canceled a number of its ferries between Istanbul and the northwestern town of Bandırma.
Although the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality announced ahead of the snow that the city’s 52-kilometer metrobus route would function throughout the snowfall, the buses experienced delays due to a metrobus accident in the European suburb of Küçükçekmece.
While the precautions were effective in keeping the city’s main transportation routes accessible, side roads remained largely inaccessible as vehicles without chains on their wheels were stuck on icy roads and multi-car collisions were reported on highways.
At least one person was killed and 30 were injured as 13 cars collided on the Trans-European Motorway (TEM), the main highway to Istanbul. Some 15 cars collided in another accident in Istanbul’s Silivri district where scores were injured, three with life-threatening wounds.
In addition to the situation in Istanbul, roads to some 1065 villages were closed in Eastern Anatolia due to heavy snowfall while 765 villages and 191 neighborhoods could not be accessed in northeastern Turkey.
Schools were declared to be on a “snow holiday” in a number of provinces across the country, including Istanbul.
The General Directorate of Meteorology released a snow warning for Istanbul, predicting heavy snowfall starting on Dec. 30, 2015, and lasting until late on Jan. 1, 2016.