Bulgaria: Widespread power cuts amid heavy snowfall, strong winds

There was still no electricity supply in 1000 settlements across Bulgaria, Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on November 26 after an emergency meeting of the Cabinet to coordinate responses to the heavy snowfalls and strong winds that have swept the country, causing widespread disruption.

“This could have been predicted, but not prevented,” Denkov said, cautioning that it would take time for teams to deal with all the damage.

The situation was dire throughout the country, especially in north-eastern Bulgaria, he said.

“During the past three days, in a number of areas, precipitation has fallen that exceeds 2.3 to 3 times the monthly norm. This is not unusual, but it creates problems.”

In the municipalities of Varna, Pleven, Veliko Turnovo, Razgrad, there was snow cover between 36 and 40cm. In Sofia, it was between 25 and 30cm, Denkov said.

The cleaning of the roads was continuing, but there are several areas where this was very difficult because the snowfall was continuing, accompanied by strong winds, he said.

“Look at the streets of Sofia, how many fallen trees and branches there are, how many broken wires there are. The teams cannot deal with all the incidents at the same time. This is the case everywhere where there is a severe situation.”

He said that there were places that had been without power for more than 15 hours and no word when this would be fixed.

Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure agency said that as of the late morning of November 26, a total of 1110 snow-clearing machines were treating roads in the national road network.

The passage of all motor vehicles through the Pass of the Republic, Troyan, Shipka, Kotlen and Rishki passes was restricted, the agency said.

Because of the severe weather conditions, heavy snowfall and snowdrifts, the passage of heavy-duty lorries of more than 12 tons through the Prevala and Rozhen passes was restricted.

Because of the bad weather and zero visibility, the movement of all motor vehicles was temporarily restricted in the Razgrad, Silistra and Dobrich districts, with the exception of the I-9 Durankulak – Varna road.

In the Shoumen district, the I-2 Rousse-Varna, II-27 Novi Pazar-Balchik and I-7 Veliki Preslav-Vurbitsa roads were closed to all motor vehicles.

In the Smolyan region, the movement of cars with trailers and semi-trailers was restricted due to strong wind and snow drifts.

Teams were responding to numerous reports of fallen trees on roads in the districts of Vratsa, Veliko Turnovo, Gabrovo and Razgrad, the agency said.

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