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Heavy snowfall started in Istanbul

Heavy snowfall started in Istanbul

Heavy snowfall started in Istanbul late Saturday after moving in from the country’s northwestern Thrace region on the way.

By midnight, much of the city was covered in white as the Asian districts of the 15-million megapolis were last to receive heavy snowfall.

The Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s (IBB) Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) had previously warned Istanbulites that the snowfall could last for five days with a severe drop in temperatures. Despite the ongoing weekend and nighttime curfews throughout the nation, traffic levels remain high due to decreased public transport ridership over COVID-19.

A blanket of snow covered much of Istanbul on Sunday morning, which weather forecasts say will increase in density throughout the day. Except for brief respites, the snowfall is expected to linger until Thursday.

Parts of Istanbul on higher ground were more exposed to the snowfall, and municipality crews worked tirelessly to clear snow-covered roads and streets, pouring salt on icy roads.

The snow arrived during a 56-hour lockdown that started late Friday due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only tourists who are exempt from the curfew were able to enjoy snowfall, as well as children who had snowball fights in front of their houses. Owners of shops exempt from the curfew, like bakeries and grocery stores, struggled to keep the entrance to their premises clear of snow. In Çatalca, a remote district on the city’s west, the snow had already reached a depth of 20 centimeters (just less than 8 inches).