Heaviest snow since 2009 hits Istanbul

More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled and much of Turkey's biggest city has ground to a standstill since the snow began falling on Friday.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man takes pictures of a stray dog at snow-covered Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey, January 8, 2017.

Schools were closed on Monday in Istanbul and the usual 5pm end of the work day for civil servants was brought forward to 3.30pm.

Snow began falling on Friday. Since then the accumulation has produced the heaviest snowfall since 2009 in Turkey's biggest population center and business hub. Local authorities in some areas reported 120 centimetres of snow.

More than 1,000 domestic and international flights from Istanbul's two major airports were cancelled through Sunday with hundreds more cancellations on Monday.

The Bosphorus strait, which runs through Istanbul, and the Dardanelles strait further south have been closed to transit shipping due to poor visibility since Saturday morning.

Authorities have deployed more than 1,300 vehicles and 7,000 personnel to clear the streets in the city of more than 14 million people.

Turkey’s national weather forecaster says the snow could continue through Wednesday.

TRTWorld and agencies