Bulgaria’s icy weather causes school closures, traffic disruptions, railway delays

Bone-chilling temperatures and other wintry weather problems in Bulgaria on January 8 led to further school closures, continuing power cuts in some villages in parts of the country, long-distance train delays and restrictions on vehicle traffic in four north-eastern regions.

The lowest temperature in Bulgaria on the night of January 7 was in Kyustendil, where minus 26 degrees Celsius was record. The highest was at Cape Kaliakra on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast, minus nine degrees.

In Sofia, the temperature at 8.30am on January 8 was minus 15 degrees.

The capital city and Plovdiv became the latest two cities to extend the Christmas school holidays because of the low temperatures.

All schools in Bulgaria are closed on Monday January 9.

In Sofia, schools will remain closed on January 9 and 10. The municipality said that schools in Sofia may remain closed on January 11 too, depending on whether measurements show classrooms as meeting minimum temperatures required by regulations.

In Plovdiv, the municipality decided to keep schools closed until January 11 inclusive.

From January 9 to 11, schools are closed in Kyustendil, Gabrovo, Pazardzhik, Silistra, Montana, and Sofia region, and in the municipalities of Dimitrovgrad, Haskovo, Topolovgrad, Lukovit, Strazhitsa, Stambolovo, Maritza, Sadovo and Stamboliiski.

Schools in the Yambol region are closed to January 11 inclusive because of a flu epidemic.

Schools are closed on January 9 and 10 in the Stara Zagora region, and in the municipalities of Veliko Turnovo, Vratsa, Mezdra, Roman, Krivodol, Borovan, Hajredin, Teteven and Ugurchin, and in the Haskovo municipalities of Mineralni Bani and Svilengrad.

All municipalities in the Pernik region have closed schools to January 10 inclusive. Also closed during this time are schools in the Plovdiv region municipalities of Karlovo, Luki and Assenovgrad.

The mayors of all the municipalities of Pernik also ordered holiday to January 10 inclusive. Two days extra holiday in Plovdiv municipality of Karlovo, Lucky and Asenovgrad.

Schools in the Dobrich region are closed from January 9 to 11 inclusive, and in Tervel and Shabla, on January 9 and 10.

On January 9, schools are closed in the municipalities of Sliven, Troyan, Simeonovgrad, Dulgopol, Nova Zagora, Tvurditsa and Kotel.

In a 1pm update on Sunday, Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency said that temperatures across Bulgaria ranged from minus 29 degrees to minus six. Weather was windy and cloudy in most of the country, while snow was falling in regions of Dobrich, Razgrad, Silistra and on the Pass of the Republic.

Road surfaces were wet and in some places icy, and were being cleaned and processed against slipperiness.

The movement of all types of vehicles was banned in the regions of Silistra, Razgrad, Dobrich and Shoumen.

The Trakiya, Struma, Maritza motorways and the Black Sea and Lyulin highways were open to all vehicles, the Road Infrastructure Agency said. Hemus Motorway was open to heavy vehicles in both directions in the Sofia region in the direction to and from Vidin, the agency said.

There were serious delays on railways routes in most parts of Bulgaria. Departures from Sofia Central Railway Station were delayed because of frozen points.

For January 9, the “code orange” dangerous weather warning has been declared for four regions in Bulgaria – Sofia city, Sofia region, Pernik and Kyustendil. The rest of the country is subject to the lesser “code yellow” potentially dangerous weather warning.

In an incident on the night of January 7, a bus carrying about 40 Japanese tourists got stuck in a snowdrift after the driver attempted to use the Shoumen – Razgrad road, which was closed.

Regional Development and Public Works Minister Lilyana Pavlova said that the driver had “absolutely violated all prohibitions”. Emergency teams working in harsh winter conditions had managed to pull the bus out of the snowdrift. Pavlova slammed the “complete irresponsibility” of the company and said that it had been referred to the relevant institutions to be penalised.



The Sofia Globe staff

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