Blizzards and freezing rain hit Slovenia

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  • Image showing how the freezing rain caused icicles to form (Image: tweeted by @ReutersWorld)

    Map to show snow depth from Sunday to Tuesday

    Photo to show frozen car in Slovenia (Image: tweeted by @StormhunterNL)

  • Blizzards and freezing rain hit Slovenia
    06.02.2014 13:51

     

    Whilst in the UK we are having issues declaring what extent of flooding can be defined as a state of emergency, in Slovenia, the local government had to declare a state of emergency on Monday due to blizzards and freezing rain.

    On Sunday afternoon and overnight, a complex low pressure system crossed northern Italy bringing strong winds to surrounding areas. Its associated fronts brought heavy rain or snow to much of Slovenia and also parts of Serbia and Croatia. The strong winds and heavy snow combined led to blizzards across many areas, particularly those in the west and where the precipitation fell as rain it lead to freezing rain. The event was not unusual for the time of year, but the combined strong winds and heavy snowfall caused a mass of destruction.

    On Monday, people woke to significant accumulations of snow and, in many areas, no power. Local media sources suggested over 120,000 households lost power which affected some 250,000 of the 2 million population. The power was lost due to snow accumulating on power lines and making them so heavy that the poles were no longer strong enough to hold up the lines. This is known as line icing. In areas where rain fell, the surfaces and wires were so cold that the rain froze on contact. In addition to these hazards, the strong winds caused trees to collapse, blocking roads, paths and railway lines.

    As the event was unfolding, the local government declared a state of emergency due to the “large-scale natural disaster”. Luckily other EU members; Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, heard Slovenia’s call and sent in emergency generators. In addition to this, the army deployed 100 soldiers to assist the civil defence units in the Postojna region and help those in need. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, Slovenia’s children had a great time with 60-75% of schools being shut due to the poor weather conditions.

    Unfortunately much of Europe is in the same position as the UK in terms of the forecast. It looks set to remain unsettled across the region with the potential for further outbreaks of snow, freezing rain and strong winds.

    By: Sally Webb