Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in Serbia and much of the Balkans
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – Heavy snow covered Belgrade and much of the Balkans on Sunday, hampering traffic, canceling flights at the main airport in the Serbian capital and disrupting public transport.
Many parts of the country have reported power cuts and damage to buildings from fallen trees. The frigid conditions saw trucks skidding on the roads and getting stuck as plows were used to pull them out.
Much of western Serbia was without electricity as authorities warned against unnecessary travel and called on Serbs to conserve electricity.
In the capital, several trees fell under the weight of the heavy snow, damaging cars and buildings. Some people had to be rescued after being trapped in their damaged vehicles.
Several flights to and from Belgrade’s main airport have been canceled due to weather conditions and a brief power cut at the main terminal, Belgrade media reported. A highway to the airport was closed for several hours due to a traffic jam caused by snowfall.
Passengers on a local train to Belgrade were stuck in the snow for seven hours before being transported by bus to the capital.
Emergency services assisted authorities with the clean-up operation throughout Sunday, while another alert for more snow and ice was issued.
In Bulgaria, heavy rains and flooding ravaged the south of the country over the weekend, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency.
The most affected areas were in the Smolyan region, near the border with Greece, where rivers overflowed to cause roads to overflow and homes to flood. Several trucks were trapped in a landslide on an intercity road.
High winds disrupted the power supply in dozens of villages, authorities said.
Further south in Albania, authorities mobilized police, army and emergency forces to deal with the flooding after three days of uninterrupted rain and snow.
The Vjosa river in the south has flooded many areas. An older couple who had spent the night on the roof of their home in southwest Albania were rescued by police in the morning.
Many roads have been temporarily blocked by landslides in the south. Elsewhere in the northeast and southeast of the country, heavy snowfall hampered or temporarily blocked traffic.
The Associated Press