Istanbul, snowfall

Istanbul prepares for the arrival of a wave of cold and snow

As of tomorrow night, the arrival of snow will be accompanied of a sudden drop in temperatures and strong winds.

The first snowflakes that fell today in the higher parts of Istanbul are nothing but the first warning of a wave of cold and snow that will sweep Turkey from the weekend, leaving maximum temperatures just above zero degrees and heavy snowfalls, forecasters warn.

According to the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS), temperatures will begin to plummet from today in Istanbul and will not exceed a maximum of 3ºC during the weekend, falling even below zero degrees during the following days; starting Saturday night and during the days of the next week, the city will succumb under severe winter conditions.

In this way, the sharp drop in temperatures that the city suffered today will be accentuated in the coming days, and after more than a week without rainfall, the snow will make appearance in abundance from Sunday and for at least the next five days, according to forecasts. These snowfalls will also be accompanied by strong winds that will exceed 60 kilometres per hour during the next few days.

For all these reasons, Istanbul authorities have appealed to drivers not to use cars unless necessary, and have asked for citizen collaboration to provide shelter from the cold to any homeless person they see on the street. In addition, the Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) will deploy 1,351 vehicles and more than 7,000 personnel to clear the streets and highways, especially in the face of the risk of ice.

Not only Istanbul, but almost all of Turkey – except for the southern Mediterranean region – will suffer bad weather due to the arrival of a cold front from Russia, which will leave abundant rainfall and snow in much of the country. Experts also warn that there is a possibility that this winter in Turkey will be as harsh as the one experienced in 1985, 1987, 2002 or 2004: during this last one, in certain areas of Istanbul such as Ümraniye the snow exceeded one metre of thickness.