Snow in the Balkans disrupts traffic, closes down schools
People walk through the snow in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Meteorologists predict heavy snowfall and sub zero temperatures in the Western Balkans throughout the week. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Jovana Gec, The Associated Press
Published Friday, January 11, 2019 6:14AM EST
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Heavy snowfall this week in the Balkans has closed down schools, left some remote villages cut off and disrupted traffic and power supplies in many areas in the region.
Serbia's state TV said Friday that six municipalities in the southwest of the country have introduced emergency measures, warning of snow piling up on the roads and sealing off mountain villages.
Most schools there have closed down and emergency crews have distributed supplies to some residents. Strong winds have created occasional snowdrifts, further complicating the situation.
In neighbouring Montenegro, three towns on the Adriatic coast remained without electricity on Friday after a snowstorm on Thursday hit a key power distribution line.
Meteorologist Dragan Buric said the first 10 days of January have been among the coldest in the country in decades.
"We have snow in January the capital city (Podgorica) for the first time in nine years," Buric told Montenegrin state TV.
In the central Bosnian municipality of Kladanj, snow has disrupted power supplies and cut phone lines. Zijad Vejzovic, from the local civil protection agency, said authorities have declared an emergency.
"Because of heavy snow, in some parts over 1 metre-high, some of the roads have been blocked," he explained. "We need more machines. We have run out of resources and money."
Meanwhile, in Germany and Austria, where heavy snow has caused fatal avalanches and major disruptions in the past few days, the situation on Friday was somewhat calmer.
Still, airlines cancelled around 120 flights at Frankfurt Airport and 90 at Munich Airport on Friday because of concerns about snow, German news agency DPA reported.
In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, all planned burials at the municipal cemetery through Monday have been called off because of the snow.
In eastern Switzerland, police said three people were slightly hurt when an avalanche hit a hotel at Schwaegalp on Thursday afternoon.