Two dead as powerful winds hit Bulgaria

Two people, one in Sofia and the other in Varna, have died in accidents as powerful winds swept Bulgaria.

A motorist died on November 18 in Bulgaria’s capital city after a tree fell on the car in which he was travelling on a major boulevard. His wife was admitted to hospital.

Reports on November 19 said that a woman in the Black Sea city of Varna died after being struck by a falling tree branch.

A state of emergency was declared in the municipality of Varna.

On the night of November 18, Varna mayor Blagomir Kotsev urged the public not to leave their homes, as the gale force winds turned to hurricane strength.

Kotsev convened a meeting of the municipal crisis staff on Sunday. A media statement by Varna municipality said that the crisis staff would meet throughout the day.

Kotsev said that the hurricane winds and heavy rain, with snow in places, had greatly hampered the work of the emergency services during the night. Power supply was disrupted in five districts of the municipality, he said.

Tons of fallen branches and trees blocked key road arteries, demolished infrastructure and caused damage that included broken traffic lights and road signs as well as other property, Kotsev said.

Residents of Varna were urged not to use their private cars except in cases of urgent need. They are also advised to secure their homes and property by closing all doors and windows and moving light objects and possessions indoors.

Construction companies in Varna have been ordered to secure construction sites.

Varna Airport was working, but there were delayed and cancelled flights, the airport said. Turkish Airlines flights to and from Istanbul had been cancelled, and the Wizz Air flights to Memmingen, Germany. The Wizz Air flight from London Luton was delayed. The Wizz Air flight from Cologne was diverted on Saturday night.

Bulgarian National Radio’s (BNR) regional Radio Varna said that while a passenger bus had left Varna for Sofia at 8.30am, all other bus lines from Varna suspended. A 7am passenger bus from Varna to Bourgas was turned back at Obzor.

Bulgarian state railways BDZ said that the Varna-Dobrich train had been halted at Povelyanovo, about 25km from Varna, since Sunday morning.

The Dobrich-Varna, Kaspichan-Rousse and Samuil-Kaspichan trains did not depart because of fallen branches on the railway lines.

The Rousse-Gorna Oryahovitsa train was also cancelled, while trains from Sofia to Varna were travelling with extreme delays, BDZ said.

Bulgaria’s weather bureau issued on Saturday several weather warnings for November 19.

The Code Orange warning of dangerous weather – with forecast storm winds and significant precipitation – was issued for the districts of Dobrich, Varna, Bourgas, Yambol, Sliven, Turgovishte, Shumen, Silistra, Razgrad and part of Rousse.

The lesser Code Yellow warning of potentially dangerous weather was issued for the districts of Veliko Turnovo, part of Gabrovo, Haskovo, Kurdzhali and part of Stara Zagora.

BNR said on Sunday that the situation in the Dobrich district had become more difficult by the weather conditions.

Snowfall in the district, which started on Saturday and was accompanied by strong wind, was continuing on Sunday morning, the report said.

The Dobrich-Varna road was completely closed to traffic because of cars stranded near the village of Stozher, BNR said.

Dozens of cars were stranded on the road to Malko Turnovo after the village of Marinka and in the border crossing area because of fallen branches and road signs, as well as snow.

Sections of the Tsarevo – Gramatikovo road were blocked by fallen trees.

The Shoumen – Silistra road was completely closed and part of the Shoumen – Razgrad road was closed due to snowfall.

There were dozens of reports of fallen trees in Sofia and Plovdiv.

(Screenshot via Nova TV)

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