People walk on the Istiklal avenue during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Yasin Akgul / AFP
Bone-freezing cold, heavy snowstorms, and floods have been plaguing the European continent this week, causing power outages, traffic jams, cancelled flights, and even a stream of plastic eggs with toys washing up on a German island.
On Saturday, heavy precipitation paralyzed Istanbul, Turkey. Around 6,000 passengers found themselves stranded as hundreds of flights to and from the city’s main Ataturk Airport were cancelled due to the snowstorm.
The Bosphorus Strait was closed to ships due to poor visibility, cutting off the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea from the Mediterranean.
Many drivers abandoned their cars and walked rather than waiting for streets to be cleaned. Istanbul’s metro system operated throughout the night to deal with a sudden passenger spike.
People walk during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Ozan Kose / AFP
On Friday, blizzards and snowstorms wreaked havoc across Bulgaria, forcing the closure of major roadways and the airport in the coastal city of Varna, as well as delays at Bucharest International Airport.
Bulgaria also experienced power outages after a nuclear power plant reactor in neighboring Romania was shut down by operator Nuclearelectrica. The company said the snowstorm caused interference in the power grid.
A man walks in a suburb of Sofia after heavy snowfall on January 7, 2017. © Nikolay Doychinov / AFP
In Poland, local authorities said Friday was the deadliest day of the winter, with seven victims of the elements found throughout the day.
In Serbia, the weather caused a massive car collision involving 27 vehicles on a highway connecting the capital Belgrade and the city of Niš. Reports said 22 people were injured in the incident, including six children.
The entire southwestern part of the country, where 10,000 people live, was blocked off from the rest of Serbia by the storm.
In Ukraine, over 70 towns and villages throughout the country experienced power outages, the national emergency service reported. Ukraine boosted consumption of natural gas in response to the cold snap, with forecasts that in January it may burn twice more fuel from underground storage tanks than planned.