Blizzard paralyzes Balkans; heavy snow and flooding wreaked havoc

Heavy snow and flooding wreaked havoc across large parts of the Balkans on Friday | wikimedia

Heavy snow and flooding wreaked havoc across large parts of the Balkans on Friday, forcing road closures, flooding homes and stopping ferries along the Adriatic coast, sources said. Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and Romania are among the countries worst hit.

Croatian authorities said that only small vehicles were allowed on main roads leading toward the coast while trucks or buses could not pass., and advised citizens not to travel around. According to media reports, the wave of fresh snow came as Croatia was already struggling to contain overflowing rivers that were swollen from melting snow.

Snow has also fallen in neighboring Serbia, surprising the region in early spring, while a melt of snow has brought flooding to Bosnia.

Moreover, in Albania, snow and rain cut off parts of the north and northwest, with 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres) of land, 680 houses and many schools affected by flooding. Families were evacuated from flood-stricken areas and given shelter by authorities.

Some 200 army emergency personnel handed out food packages, drinking water and food for livestock in rural areas. Many villages were without power and only reachable by boat.

In Romania, heavy snow and high wind led to schools being closed in the capital and 10 other counties. Six major highways were closed due to snow, with traffic restricted on other roads, and more than 50 trains did not run as scheduled.

Also, the bad weather in the neighboring countries has created problems at the border points. The situation at the border with Greece and with Macedonia is the most serious as reported.

In some places in Macedonia the snow cover reaches over one meter, the Skopje capital is blocked, comments on the winter environment in the country, the Skopje newspaper Vecer, noting that a ban on traffic is on almost all directions.

AcueWeather forecast website had reported last week that cold air associated with the “Beast from the East” will set the stage for several rounds of snow across the Balkan Peninsula, and that areas near the Adriatic Sea will remain mild enough to prevent any snowfall; however, rounds of rain will bring the threat for flooding this week.