Harsh weather characterized by heavy snowfall and blizzards dominated Turkey’s eastern regions where the winter is usually most severe in the country. After days of snowfall, some roads are still closed while people struggle to clear the snow piling up every day after they shovel it off of their roofs and vehicles.
Extreme temperatures disrupted daily life in the region, from Erzurum in the north to Hakkari in the south. On Saturday night, the lowest temperature was recorded in the province of Erzurum, at minus 23 degrees Celsius (minus 9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) while the forecast for Sunday indicated mostly cloudy weather with sporadic snowfall in the province, as well as provinces of Erzincan and Ağrı. Iğdır is expected to be “hottest,” so to speak, in the region, as the forecast for the province indicates 3 degrees Celsius for Sunday (37.4 degrees Fahrenheit).
Authorities repeatedly warned locals against temperatures as well as the heightened risk of avalanches, the danger of icicles dropping from eaves and other risks associated with bad weather.
In the eastern province of Muş, villages are embattled with a thick layer of snow which shut down access to small houses and structures used as barns and stables. Locals took out shovels to clear the snow. Yukarıyongalı, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from central Muş, is among those villages. The village of 700 people had its main road cleared by crews from Muş governorate. But in places where the heavy snowplowers could not access, it was up to the locals to dig out their houses which had almost disappeared under the snow. “We rarely have a day without snowfall, blizzard and storm,” Eyyüp Omur told Demirören News Agency (DHA) as he joined fellow villagers to remove the white piles which buried the building. “All houses with one floor are buried. We dig tunnels through snow to get in and out. We also go to each house through ‘snow tunnels’ between them,” he said.
Ahmet Özçelik, another villager, says their stables were affected in particular and they had to dig out tunnels to feed their animals, as he shoveled the snow to get inside a 50-meter (164-foot) long tunnel./agencies