18 January Monday

IMM Crews Work Hard to Keep the Roads Open and Safe

And Saturday evening, a long-awaited snowfall came to Istanbul at last.

The dry and warm spell through much of the winter in Istanbul finally came to an end as snowfall descended throughout the city Saturday evening, giving a much-needed boost to the city suffering from a lack of precipitation this winter.

Snowfall was expected to end by Monday evening, and the weather forecast shows cloudy weather with temperatures fluctuating around 10 degrees Celsius and below for Tuesday and the following days.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) crews were on alert against the snowfall’s impact on the lives of residents. The municipality has stressed that it is on “alert” with 7,031 personnel and 1,351 vehicles to keep the roads open for normal and safe traffic. They cleared snow-covered roads and poured salt on the streets against icing. Snowplows were deployed to far-flung villages on the city’s European and Asian sides. Bus services, already working with low capacity due to the curfew, continued uninterrupted. Officials warned residents to avoid taking their cars if they do not have winter tires as the temperatures led to freezing on some roads in the city.

The IMM also offered shelter to 335 homeless people at homeless hotels across the city, providing them food, clothes and beds, while food for stray animals is regularly being distributed at 325 locations.

“Snow thickness between 20 and 30 centimeters in the high parts of the Anatolian side and 10-20 cm in the interior has been measured. In the districts on the European side, the average snow thickness is between two and five centimeters,” said Mr. Murat Ongun, spokesperson of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM).

“Nearly, 10,800 tons of salt has been used since Friday morning. We manage our work from the crisis desk from AKOM [Disaster Coordination Center],” said Salim Özmen, deputy director of the center, adding that retaining wall collapses occurred in some districts.

The precipitation, although lasting just a few days, was good news for dams supplying water to more than 15 million people in the city. Just a few weeks after a drought alert, dams have seen a rise in their water levels. With this new boost, thanks to the snowfall, which was preceded with rainfall, dams’ water levels reached as high as 30% from below 20% for some dams last week. Istrancalar Dam, the main water source for the city, saw water levels reaching 84%, from 32% on Jan. 10. Alibeyköy Dam, where receding waters turned its reservoir into pasture for animals, also saw its water levels rising to 42%. Overall, water levels increased an average 10% for dams since Jan. 8.

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