Heavy rain, storm wreak havoc in southwestern Turkey, one dead
People were stranded after heavy rain in Antalya. (Photo: AA)
10 December 2012 /TODAY'S ZAMAN
At least one person is dead as heavy rain and wind have wreaked havoc in Turkey's Aegean provinces, forcing authorities in the nearby Mediterranean province of Antalya to close schools. Snow has also swept across Eastern country, closing a number of village roads.
In the Aegean city of İzmir's Çeşme district, a fishing boat capsized early on Monday, killing businessman Ömer Cinstaş. The businessman was one of three who were on the boat when the storm capsized it.
The boat's captain, Mehmet Selami Bağcı, was able to save himself, but the two others went missing. Coast Guard teams located the body of Cinstaş but could not find the other missing person.
Cinstaş, as a hobby, regularly went fishing every week.
In Antalya, local authorities decided to shut down schools on Monday, heeding warnings of severe weather conditions.
The Antalya Governor's Office said in a statement on Sunday that heavy rain and storms were expected across Antalya on Monday and that schools in the central region and in 17 additional districts would be closed that day. Schools in the Elmalı and Korkuteli districts remain open.
In Muğla's Köyceğiz district, a group of 14 students were stranded on Sandıras Mountain after a snowstorm hit the mountain, while they were trying to set up a camp.
The group sent a distress signal Sunday night when they became stuck on the mountain at an altitude of 1,300 meters.
Rescue teams from the Köyceğiz Gendarmerie Command cleared the road with a plow and were able to reach the students. Additional rescue teams were deployed to the area over the next six hours to save the group.
One female student had severe hypothermia and was hospitalized immediately after rescue. The rest of the group was taken to the nearby village of Ağla.
A similar incident occurred in Muş where villagers in four vehicles were trapped by heavy snow, which reached a depth of 60 centimeters, and a blizzard for four hours on Sunday night. After one of the villagers called Muş Special Provincial Administration Assistant Secretary-General Şehmus Yentür and informed him about their situation, rescue teams from the administration went to the scene with heavy construction equipment and pulled the four vehicles free with ropes. Yentür said they had opened the road the villagers were stuck in two days before the incident, but their efforts proved to be in vain due to the ongoing snowfall, he added.
In Kars, temperatures fell as low as 16 degrees below zero. The Kars Municipality warned locals, specifically children, not to go outside unless they have to. Eight village roads in Kars were blocked on Monday by heavy snowfall.
Snow at the Uludere Ski Center in Bursa reached 55 centimeters. The State Meteorology Bureau has said heavy snowfall will continue in Bursa for three more days.
Meanwhile, a total of 137 villages in the eastern provinces of Van, Bitlis, Muş and Hakkari were out of reach on Monday because of the snowfall that lasted for four days. Snow in Bitlis reached 70 centimeters, the bureau said.
Ice and frost are also expected to affect central and eastern parts of Turkey, particularly eastern Anatolia and east Central Anatolia. Residents of these regions are advised to be extra cautious when venturing outside and to be aware of the adverse conditions caused by continuing snowfall. Bureau officials have also warned residents in the western parts of Turkey about flash floods that may occur due to melting snow as temperatures increase. Officials have also recommended that vehicles be equipped with snow chains and warned drivers not to drive in the emergency lane.