Strong winds in northern Bulgaria, causing blizzards and snow drifts, hampered traffic in northern Bulgaria on January 18, with many roads closed.
Heavy snowfall and rains in several parts of Bulgaria at the weekend led to declarations of states of emergency in some municipalities, as serious winter weather conditions also hit Bulgaria’s neighbouring countries Turkey, Greece, Romania and Serbia.
The state of emergency that had been declared at the weekend in Bulgaria’s Smolyan municipality was lifted on the morning of January 18 but partial emergencies remained in place in the municipalities of Rudozem, Devin and Dospat.
The head of Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency, Lazar Lazarov, said on the morning of January 18 that roads in western Bulgaria were passable provided that vehicles were prepared for wintry conditions but traffic in north-eastern Bulgaria still had difficulties.
In parts of northern Bulgaria, visibility was down to zero as strong winds drove blizzards and snow drifts.
The roads between the Danubian city of Rousse and the town of Shoumen, and between Silistra and Shoumen, were closed. On the stretch of Hemus Motorway between Shoumen and Varna, there was a ban on the movement of heavy vehicles.
Flooding at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint led to traffic being diverted to the Lesovo checkpoint, Lazarov said.
Several dozen villages in the municipalities of Mezdra and Roman remained without electricity.
In the municipality of Lovech, several villages also had no power, and electricity distribution company teams had worked through the night to restore supply, local media said.
The port of Varna was closed because of strong winds.
In various municipalities in Bulgaria, schools were closed on Monday although classes in most major cities were proceeding as normal.
In Sofia, the head of the capital city’s municipal inspectorate, Veska Georgieva, issued a reminder that those who failed to clean the snow from in front of their residences and offices could face fines ranging from 50 to 500 leva for individuals and from 700 to 2000 leva for juristic persons.
According to Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, snowfall through the night had resulted in snow cover in places in the city of 40cm, in some places up to 50cm.
Sofia’s Pirogov emergency hospital said that about 250 people had sought medical treatment at the weekend for fractures of the wrist, shoulder, ankle or hip, causing by falling in the icy conditions.
Elsewhere in South Eastern Europe, heavy snowfall and strong wind prompted Turkish Airlines to cancel 246 domestic and international flights from Atatürk Airport, including to Bulgaria, and Sabiha Gökçen Airport. In Romania, schools in Bucharest were closed on January 18. In Greece, a 47-year-old man was found dead by rescuers after his car was swept away by a flash flood in Serres, with the country having been hit by severe heavy rain at the weekend.
(Screenshots of Smolyan via BNT)