After moving in from Turkey’s northwestern Thrace region, cold weather coming from the Balkans finally arrived in Istanbul on the weekend, which coincided with a curfew imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Feb. 14 midnight, much of the city was covered in white as the Asian districts of the 16-million metropolis were last to receive heavy snowfall.
Face-to-face classes across Istanbul have been suspended across Istanbul until Feb. 17 due to expected heavy snowfall, said the provincial governor on Feb. 14.
Nearly 5,000 students in 73 schools across Istanbul were expected to start face-to-face classes as of Feb. 15 but the decision has been postponed, Ali Yerlikaya said in a statement.
Disabled people working in public institutions and organizations, those with chronic diseases, and pregnant staff will be granted administrative leave during the specified period, without the need for an additional instruction or request, he added.
In downtown Istanbul, 20 to 40 centimeters of snow covered the main roads and other areas, especially in the Beyoğlu, Kağıthane and Eyüpsultan districts.
The Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) had previously warned Istanbul residents that the snowfall could last for five days with a severe drop in temperatures.
Some 1,351 vehicles and 7,031 personnel were deployed to 434 locations for snow plowing and salinization efforts on a road network of 4,023 kilometers, the municipality said.
Due to Valentine’s Day, florists in Istanbul started working in the early hours on Feb. 14 under heavy winter conditions.
Some motorcycle couriers, who could not drive due to slippery roads, had to take gifts and flowers on foot.
Meanwhile, the northwestern provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ were hit by snowfall earlier on Feb. 14.
Moving southwards, the storm and snowfall led to the suspension of marine and passenger traffic in the Marmara Sea and the Dardanelles.