Heavy snow causes flight delays at Sofia Airport, traffic disruptions in parts of Bulgaria
Heavy snowfalls on December 16 caused flight delays and diversions at Sofia Airport while there were traffic disruptions as machines cleared snow from motorways and other major roads.
Local media said that an EasyJet flight to Sofia from London was diverted to the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki while a flight from Southend was redirected to Bucharest.
Sofia Airport’s website periodically went down as users sought information on delayed flights.
The airport’s media office confirmed that some flights had been diverted, and the airport was operating under winter conditions, with delays possible because of periodic clearing of snow from runways.
The heaviest snowfall was reported to be in Kyustendil, at a rate of 24 litres a square metre, resulting in a snow cover of six cm by early afternoon.
In Sofia, snow fell at a rate of six litres a sq m, with a snow cover of five cm.
Close to 200 machines were deployed to clear snow from main thoroughfares and main public transport routes. Snowfall was forecast to continue in Sofia throughout the day on December 16.
Traffic on Trakiya Motorway was temporarily restricted in the early afternoon after a lorry slid into a crash barrier.
Television station bT V reported viewers as sending in complaints that travelling on Struma Motorway was difficult because there were not enough snowploughs deployed.
Temporary traffic restrictions were announced on Struma Motorway at the Boboshevo intersection.
Driving on Hemus Motorway also was reported to be difficult, because of a combination of heavy snow and fog.
Bulgarian weather forecasters said that snowfall in Western Bulgaria would stop overnight and December 17 would be less overcast. There would be light snowfalls in the central parts of the Danube plain and rain in many places in central and south-eastern Bulgaria.
Minimum temperatures in Bulgaria on December 17 would range from minus five degrees Celsius to zero, rising to daytime highs of zero to five degrees, and 10 degrees Celsius at Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
A “Code Yellow” warning of potentially dangerous weather was issued for December 17 for snowfalls expected in four districts: Gabrovo, Lovech, Pleven and Veliko Turnovo.
For the rest of week, snowfalls were expected on December 19 and 21. Next weekend would see some rain, and snowfalls in Bulgaria’s mountains.
(Photos, taken in Sofia on December 16: Lance Nelson)