Rain and hail basically ended the Easter vacation for Bulgarians, many of whom returned to Sofia on Sunday evening. According to the police, traffic was intense at all entrances to the Bulgarian capital.
On Hemus Motorway, many got surprised by hail, which hammered the bodies of their cars. Hundreds of drivers used “Vitinya” tunnel as a shelter, while the hail came down from the clouds, causing an even bigger chaos on the road than there would have been otherwise.
The forecast for Monday did look rather grim. There was supposed to be rainfall all over Bulgaria, with daytime temperatures from a modest 8 degrees Centigrade down in Smolyan to 16 degrees in parts of central and western Bulgaria.
The Code Orange dangerous weather warning was declared for 20 regions in Bulgaria on April 17, because of expected heavy rainfall: Bourgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Haskovo, Kurdzhali, Lovech, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Rousse, Shoumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vratsa and Yambol. The rest of the country, regions in the west, faced the lesser Code Yellow potentially dangerous weather warning.
On Sunday, Sofia traffic was perfect, since there hardly was any, until the first vacationers returned in the evening. A drive from the city center to Sofia Airport took less than 15 minutes. Also, there were vacant parking spaces in the city center, around Raikovski Street, a fact which did come close to a miracle.
At Pancharevo Lake, in the outskirts of Sofia, relatively few hikers enjoyed the morning sun on Sunday, which later was abruptly replaced by heavy rainfall.
In the meantime, the believers among Bulgaria’s millions of Orthodox Christians commenced “Holy Week”. During this time, holy apostles and the Virgin Mary are being glorified.
In neighbouring Romania, hundreds of thousands of citizens hit the roads and train tracks as well, during the Easter weekend. CFR Calatori, the Romanian Railways, added thousands of seats to their regular trains heading towards popular destinations, in order to be able to accommodate all travellers.
Tomorrow, kids are back at school, as “reality” will kick back in. The weather on Tuesday is supposed to improve substantially, compared to today’s mess.