The first snow of the winter 2019 season descended on Bulgarian capital city Sofia on December 3. The snowfall began in the morning, as the dropping temperatures turned what was previously a drizzle into snowflakes.
Perhaps owing to the calendar date – first snows in Bulgaria in recent years have tended to come in mid-to-late November – this time the annual occurrence did not catch authorities by surprise.
Sofia city hall said that it has already deployed teams to sprinkle anti-icing mix on streets and pavements, primarily in areas with steeper inclines.
Although the snow cover was still thin, the city hall had a total of 166 snowploughs spread over 67 locations in the city ready to spring into action if the snowfall intensified, Bulgarian National Television reported.
The Road Infrastructure Agency said it had a total of 1800 snowploughs on standby and had already started anti-icing activities on roads in mountainous areas.
The agency said that the necessary supplies for the winter season had been distributed to the staging areas and up to 3000 vehicles could be used to clear snow and de-ice roads, if needed.
It already restricted traffic on the Troyan Pass, banning vehicles of more than 12 tons, in order to clear the fallen snow.
Forecasters issued a “code yellow” alert of potentially hazardous weather for 18 districts on December 3, in western, southern and central Bulgaria, but the country’s meteorology institute was yet to issue any warning for December 4.
The weather forecast said that the snowfall was expected to stop overnight, with clearer skies on December 4 and daily highs ranging from zero degrees Celsius in Sofia to 5C on the country’s Black Sea coast.
Night-time temperatures were expected to fall below freezing point, mainly between -5C and -2C, but falling as low as -12C in Smolyan, southern Bulgaria, and -9C in Gabrovo, central Bulgaria.