Intense snowfall in Istanbul blocks airports, roads and leaves hundreds stranded

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The bad weather in Turkey has caused serious imbalances in the daily life of citizens, who have been asked not to leave their homes or use their cars in long-lasting cases due to the overcrowding of transport caused by the heavy storms of snow that hit the country’s capital and its surroundings. Abandoned cars, canceled flights and collapsed routes, the toll thrown by snowfall which has also reached Athens and is causing similar complications.

Turkey is going through another day of uncertainty on January 25 due to the intense and constant snowfall that has been falling for the past few days and, according to weather specialists, this will continue at least until Thursday.

After last Monday the roads became congested, there were traffic accidents and the airports had to postpone flights, this Tuesday the authorities of Istanbul decided to intensify the works to clear the roads made unusable by the snow and which left dozens of people stranded and abandoned cars.

The depth of the snow in some places reached around 80 centimeters, preventing motorists from traveling to their homes. Some have decided to leave their vehicle there and use public transport, causing the saturation of services. Others preferred to walk or directly spend the night in their car.

Rescue teams were active throughout the night to reverse the situation, but the number of abandoned cars was an obstacle to accomplishing the task. The governor of the Turkish capital, Ali Yerlikaya, has asked the owners to go back and remove them.

As the Istanbul Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) explains, the bad weather is generated by a cold front caused by an Icelandic low pressure system. Low temperatures, sleet and precipitation will continue through the weekend.

Suleyman Soylu – Minister of Interior – requested that until this phenomenon ends, people should not use their private cars unless strictly necessary. Additionally, he explained that most of those stranded on the roads lacked the equipment needed to navigate the snow.

For security reasons, authorities have halted services at Istanbul’s main airport, where a roof has collapsed due to snow. Transport Minister Adil Karaismaloglu said limited flights would resume shortly. Same situation for Sabiha Gokcen airfield, which also operates with reduced performance.

Selcuk Tutuncu, director of AKOM, said 40,000 tons of salt have already been used to clear roads since the storm began. “Right now there are more than 1,500 vehicles and more than 7,000 people working non-stop in the fields,” Tutuncu added.

Apart from Istanbul, the other regions affected by the snowfall are Bodrum and Datca, two tourist centers in the southwest of the country. While Antalya, on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, had snow for the first time in 29 years.

Athens was also affected by the snowfall

Greece’s most important city was another place where bad weather made it difficult for citizens to move around. After a complicated night where hundreds of people found themselves stranded in their vehicles, rescuers tried on Tuesday to free the civilians who were stranded on the highway that connects the city to the airport.

As in Turkey, some drivers abandoned their cars and headed for stations. However, services had been suspended and they had to spend the night at the station until the early hours of Tuesday, when a special train was sent to specifically collect these people.

For their part, members of the army mobilized to deliver food and water to people stuck on the road and tried to free others to open the roads. Authorities say some people left in their cars when the intensity of the snowfall was light, but when they returned home they were already trapped; on the other hand, there have been trucks that have slipped and ended up on the wrong side of the roads, which has caused a blockage of traffic.

This is the second year in a row that the Greek capital has suffered snowstorms. In 2021, a similar situation led to the fall of thousands of trees in the streets, parks and forests of Athens.

with PA

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