Romanian schools, highways closed over blizzards

08:18, February 09, 2010      

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Heavy snow and blizzards have forced the closure of schools and highways and delayed trains in Romania, police said Monday.

Heavy snowfall has struck since Saturday evening southern and eastern Romania, including the capital city of Bucharest.

As many as 16 national roads and the country's only two highways are still closed due to snow and blizzards, according to the Police Info-traffic Centre.

National Railway Company CFR SA on Monday announced train delays of up to 60 minutes, although there are no closed lines yet because of heavy snowfalls and blizzards.

As many as 37 car collisions have been recorded over the past 24 hours in the capital, said Bucharest Police spokesperson Christian Ciocan, adding that Road Brigade teams assure entrance to and exit from the city by banning the passage of heavy motor vehicles, in order to avoid traffic jams.

Kindergartens and elementary and secondary schools in Bucharest and eleven counties countrywide are closed on Monday over frosty weather, Prime Minister Emil Boc announced on Sunday after a meeting of the Emergency Committee.

Local meteorologists issued earlier code yellow and code orange alert for heavy snow and gusty winds throughout southern Romania Saturday through Monday morning.

The weather authorities on Sunday extended the code orange alert in Bucharest and nine counties in southeastern Romania, and prolonged the code yellow in another 15 counties, Sunday afternoon through Monday evening.

Meteorologists expect heavy snowfall and blizzards with winds reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour and even exceeding 100 kilometers per hour in mountain areas.

Romania experienced one of the coldest winters, with abundant snowfall. In late January, the minimum temperature in Bucharest dropped to minus 22 degrees Celsius, while in the central city of Intorsura Buzau, the minimum temperature dropped to minus 34.4 degrees Celsius. There are at least 55 people died of hypothermia in this winter.

Source: Xinhua
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