Blizzard Grips Bulgaria, Staggering Power Outages Reported
About 53 000 customers of the Power Utility CEZ, serving western and southwestern Bulgaria, are without electricity over the heavy snowfall, the company announces.
In exception of Sofia, the entire territory served by CEZ is experiencing interruptions in the power supply. The worse affected are small villages, where access is very difficult.
An emergency situation has been declared in the municipalities of Svoge and Godech, near Sofia.
CEZ assure that 450 emergency teams have been sent and are trying to reach all locations where damage is reported.
The situation is worsening in the Ruse Region, where 11 villages are without power. The village of Ivanovo is also without water because it has an electric water pump. There are problems with deliveries of basic food staples, such as bread, to several villages.
All roads from the Danube city of Ruse to the capital Sofia, to the Black Sea city of Varna, and to the Danube city of Silistra are closed. A number of vehicles are reported stuck in the snow. Danube Bridge, connecting Bulgaria and Romania, remains closed.
Schools in a number of villages and towns in the region are closed while the crisis headquarters are meeting in Ruse.
In the Rhodoppe Mountains Smolyan Region 56 villages and towns are experiencing power outages, but the roads there are passable. All vehicles need to have tire chains while tractor trailers are banned.
20 towns and villages are also without power in the Pazardzhik Region.
The Varna port is closed over strong winds.
The Lyulin highway near Sofia is open for traffic, the State Agency Road Infrastructure reports.
1 079 snowplows are cleaning roads all over the country. The "Hemus" highway connecting Varna and Sofia is temporarily closed for tractor trailers in the section near the capital.
The "Trakiya" highway in southern Bulgaria is also closed over a serious traffic accident. The "Struma" highway is closed for tractor trailers for cleaning.
The weather services forecast that the snowfall will last all through the night and into Friday. Snow is to be expected in the next days as well.
The Interior Ministry has registered 22 serious traffic accidents in the last 24 hours with 25 injured.
The Road Agency and the traffic police appeal to drivers to postpone trips unless there is an absolute emergency. Those who must travel should have a full tank of gas, winter tires, a fully charged cell phone and water.
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