Bulgaria approached the end of its Liberation Day long weekend on March 5, with warnings of avalanches in some mountain ranges, a landslide closing a road, reports of rivers swelling as snow melted, and the inevitable heavy traffic as people returned to Sofia and other major cities.
The Mountain Rescue Service issued a warning on March 5 that tourists should be extremely careful because of a “significant” danger of avalanches in the Rila, Pirin, Stara Planina and Vitosha mountains.
The service advised tourists to stick to marked routes and heed the weather conditions.
As increased temperatures brought melting snow, some river levels rose. The Tundhza River in southern Bulgaria was reported to have risen by a metre and a half in the past two days in the stretch between Yambol and Elhovo.
From March 6, the levels of the Yantra, Russenski Lom, Struma rivers and the sections of rivers at the Black Sea are expected to rise.
A landslide closed the road between Sofia and Samokov, traffic police said. Traffic was being detoured through Bistrita. The road would remain closed throughout the day on March 5 because of overhanging rock masses that could fall on the roadway.
In the Rhodope mountains, the road between Rudozem and Smilyan was closed because of repeated rockfalls.
At Bulgaria’s Kalotina border checkpoint with Serbia, lorries were not being allowed to enter the neighbouring country because of a technical problem, Border Police said.
On the final day of the long weekend, the movement of lorries of more than 12 tons was to be restricted from 2pm to 10pm on motorways and Bulgaria’s busiest roads, the Road Infrastructure Agency said.
The most intensive traffic was expected on the E-79, the Struma, Trakiya, Hemus motorways, the Sofia-Varna routes and the Veliko Turnovo – Rousse road, as well as at exits from Bulgaria’s major winter resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo.
Additional Sofia traffic police were to be deployed at entrances and exits of the capital city from noon to 10pm.
After the severe winter weather of the past week, temperature increases were forecast as Bulgarians returned to work for the four-day week.
For Sofia, the forecast was for a maximum 13 degrees Celsius with rain on March 6 and a maximum 15 degrees with cloudy weather on March 7. For Plovdiv, the forecast was 12 degrees with rain on March 6 and 16 degrees with rain on March 7. At the Black Sea, Varna was set for eight degrees with rain on March 6, and 18 degrees with cloudy weather the following day. Bourgas was forecast to see 12 degrees on March 6 and 19 degrees on March 7, with rain on both days.