Bustling İstanbul blanketed with snow

Bustling İstanbul blanketed with snow

(Photo: Today's Zaman)

January 30, 2012, Monday/ 15:37:00

Snow continued to fall unabated throughout İstanbul on Monday, draping the bustling city in a blanket of white.

The snowfall, which began early Monday morning and increased throughout the day, proved to be both problematic and delightful in a city where heavy snowfall is not typical.

The districts of Arnavutköy, Sarıyer, Sancaktepe and Çamlıca received 10 centimeters of snow and villages like Riva and Beykoz experienced 20 centimeters.

For those trying to get to work or travel outside of the city, the snowstorm has proved inconvenient.

Turkish Airlines (THY) had to cancel or delay many of its flights out of İstanbul on Monday due to the heavy snowfall. Across Turkey, a total of 184 flights were canceled.

Some thirty international flights and 15 domestic flights were canceled on Monday morning after the snow caused problems on the runway.

State Airports Management General Directorate (DHMİ) officials said work to clear the runways and ramps continues because of the ongoing snowfall.

Some ferry services were also canceled on Monday due to the unexpected snowfall.

İstanbul Municipality's Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) declared a red alert for the blustery winter weather that hit İstanbul on Monday. The center had issued a yellow alert for the municipality before an unexpected deluge of snow struck in the morning.

AKOM deployed 2,406 personnel and 870 vehicles to nine regions of İstanbul to deal with Monday's heavy snowstorm.

İstanbul's Road Maintenance and Repair Directorate spent the entire morning salting the streets. A total of 18,932 tons of salt and 442 tons of solution have been laid on the streets since the snow started falling last Thursday.

The municipality continues to operate a homeless shelter at Metin Oktay Gym in Yeniköy. As of Monday, a total of 368 people had taken refuge in the gym.

Others, however, reveled in the bustling city's transformation into a winter wonderland.

Historic sites like the Blue and Süleymaniye Mosques and tourist-laden Taksim Square were veiled in white on Monday, with tourists and locals alike posing with their families and friends outside the Örtaköy Mosque and on İstiklal Street in the midst of the flurries.

İstanbul's beaches were also covered in a blanket of snow.

The beach in Zeytinburnu, which is usually dotted with grills for barbeques and picnics, became the perfect setting for snowball fights.

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