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Widespread floods and landslides hit Turkey, huge amounts of snow at higher elevations


Torrential rains have been battering Turkey for days beginning Monday, January 6, 2020, disrupting daily life in parts of the country as the downpour sparked widespread flash floods and landslides, claiming at least two lives. Extreme weather conditions led to heavy traffic, travel delays, power outages, and road closures. Huge amounts of snow were also reported at higher elevations.

One house was destroyed by mudslides in the district of Erdemli in Mersin. Five out of six family members survived, while one elderly got stuck under the wreckage and later pronounced dead.

On a separate incident, one person died in a road accident when the victim's car slid into a water-filled culvert in the district of Mut. His body was retrieved in a river bed.

The government has established a crisis desk in case of emergency cases, according to Mersin governor Ali Ihsan Su. No emergency response is needed as of the moment.

Su added that the province received approximately 165 mm (6.5 inches) of rain in 24 hours. Moreover, heavy snow was reported in the area's higher elevations.

Floods swept across the districts of Mezitli, Yenisehir, Toroslar, and Akdeniz, as well as in the neighboring province of Antalya where some homes were evacuated in Serik and Gazipasa. The main road connecting Antalya to Konya was closed for 12 hours due to heavy snow. 

Istanbul, Turkey's most populated city, had its share of harsh weather– the area's already congested traffic came to a standstill particularly during rush hours as severe rainfall lashed the city.

Underpasses were inundated, and roofs of at least 108 buildings were ripped apart by strong winds. Some led to the collapse of three retaining walls.

According to authorities, over 60 locations reported flooding. Winds reached over 104 km/h (64.6 mph) and more than 110 mm (4 inches) of rain fell in some parts of the city from Monday to Tuesday, January 6 to 7.

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Severe weather conditions also caused travel delays. A plane skidded off the runway at Sabiha Gokcen Airport. No injuries were reported as all passengers were evacuated to safety. Ferry services were canceled between the city's Asian and European sides, as well as on routes between Istanbul and other cities. Furthermore, power outages briefly disrupted metro services in Istanbul.

The western province of Canakkale in the northern region of Agean shores was also affected by downpour, snowfall, and storms. Several schools postponed classes in six districts on Tuesday. The Dardanelles strait was closed for hours to maritime traffic.

Strong winds up to 110 km/h (68 mph) whipped across the province. Access to Bozcaada and Gokceada– two islands off of Canakkale's shores– was cut off for two days.

Turkey's meteorology authority said the weather is expected to improve by Friday, January 10, at least in the western regions.

Featured image credit: @hiitsneptune/Twitter


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