Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in Serbia and much of Balkans

Cars on the street during snow storm in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Meteorologists predict heavy snowfall and sub zero temperatures in the Western Balkans throughout the week. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Heavy snowfall covered Belgrade and much of the Balkans on Sunday, hampering traffic, canceling flights at the Serbian capital’s main airport and disrupting public transportation.

Many areas across the country reported power cuts and damages to buildings due to falling trees. The icy conditions saw trucks skidding across the roads and getting stuck while ploughs were being used to pull them out.

Much of western Serbia was without electricity as authorities warned against unnecessary travel and appealed to people in Serbia to conserve power.

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 from and to Belgrade’s main airport were canceled because of the weather conditions and a brief power cut to the main terminal, Belgrade media reported. A highway leading to the airport was closed for several hours because of a traffic jam caused by the snowfall.

Passengers on a local train to Belgrade were stuck in snow for seven hours before they were provided bus transportation to the capital

Emergency services have been assisting authorities in the cleanup operation throughout Sunday, while another alert for more snow and ice has been issued.

In Bulgaria, heavy rains and major floods have been ravaging southern parts of the country over the weekend, forcing authorities there to declare a state of emergency.

The worst-hit areas were in the Smolyan region, near the border with Greece, where rivers burst their banks to cause the overflowing of roads and the flooding of homes. Several trucks were trapped in a landslide on an intercity road.

Strong winds disrupted power supply in dozens of villages, authorities said.

Further south in Albania, authorities mobilized police, army and emergency forces to cope with floods following three days of continuous rainfall and snow.

The Vjosa River in the south flooded many areas. An older couple who had stayed overnight on the rooftop of their house in southwest Albania was rescued by police in the morning.

Many roads were temporarily blocked by landslides in the south. Elsewhere in the northeast and southeast of the country, heavy snow has hampered or temporarily blocked traffic.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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