Parts of Central and Eastern Europe hard-hit by heavy snowfalls, icy weather

Code Red weather warnings have been issued for the Banat region of north-eastern Serbia and large parts of southern Austria for February 3 2014 while countries including Romania, Serbia and Slovenia also have been hard-hit by heavy snowfalls and icy weather.

The same Code Red weather warning was in place on February 2 for Banat, five regions in southern Austria and most of Slovenia.

In Serbia, more than 700 people were rescued after having been stranded by snowdrifts along a highway in the northern part of the country, local media said on February 2.

Overnight, a Bulgarian cement lorry overturned after failing to heed a road closure, Serbian authorities said.

Traffic was suspended on the E75 highway between Subotica and Novi Sad in northern Serbia. There also was disruption to rail traffic in the same area.

Weather forecasters in Belgrade said that a gradual weakening of the wind could be expected on the afternoon of February 3. This was after winds that blew on February 1, up to 160km/h, were said to be among the strongest in Serbia for the past three to four decades.

A major border crossing with Hungary was closed by Serbian authorities on February 1. The same day, Serbian authorities urged people to avoid travelling on February 1 and 2.

In Sofia, Bulgaria’s foreign minister urged Bulgarian citizens to defer travel to and through the western part of Hungary on February 1 and 2.

On February 2, Slovenian prime minister Alenka Bratušek said that the country would seek assistance from the European Union because of a large-scale disaster resulting from ice storms that caused devastation and left close to 90 000 customers without electricity.

In Austria on February 1, several train services were cancelled and a warning was issued of avalanche risk in the mountains after some of the most serious snowfall in the past 15 years. The same day, central Italy was hard-hit by floods and train services to and from Austria were suspended.

In Romania, record-low temperatures for this winter were recorded in central parts of Romania. Military units assisted in snow clearing, including where houses were close to completely buried under snow. Helicopters delivered bread, water and canned food from the state reserve.



The Sofia Globe staff

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