Current Affairs Heavy snow causes disruptions across the country
The Czech Republic is getting its share of winter weather. Heavy snow and freezing temperatures have disrupted traffic across the country, with the main motorways and railway experiencing severe problems. Prague’s Ruzyně airport was closed for traffic overnight and many international flights, similarly as train connections, are delayed. The authorities in most major cities are struggling to get the situation under control, and have asked people to leave their cars at home.
Between 10 and 20 cm of fresh snow that fell overnight has caused traffic chaos in most parts of the Czech Republic. Major roads have been jammed; the D1 motorway connecting Prague and Brno has been blocked several times by trucks that got stuck in the snow and the resulting traffic jams have made things worse.
Traffic accidents also blocked the D5 motorway between Prague and the German border. The authorities say winter tyres are essential to be able to drive safely, and they also advise drivers to use snow chains.
Czech Railways has declared a nationwide emergency because of the snowfall. Some trains have been cancelled, others are facing hour-long delays; the situation is apparently improving on regional railway lines, and the company is advising people to check the latest news online;
Prague Airport was closed between 11 PM on Wednesday night until the early hours of Thursday. Many flights were cancelled and others severely delayed. The situation has improved since then but problems persist especially with incoming flights. Michaela Lagronová is a spokeswoman for Prague Airport.
“The situation here at Prague airport is stabilized and air traffic is without any major problems. There have of course been delays on flights, especially on arrivals to Prague. But that has to do with the situation in the whole of Europe. But air traffic is facing no serious problems.”
How long are the delays, and when do you expect flights could return to their regular schedule?
“I have no idea. That depends on the weather. I said it concerns arrivals to Prague, which is something we cannot influence here at Prague Airport. I suggest that people follow weather forecasts, and contact the airline where they bought their tickets for more information about whether the flight is going to be cancelled or not.”
Meanwhile, Prague and other major cities are still experiencing severe problems. Many people have been injured after slipping in the street, and public transport is slow and difficult, with trams and buses delayed and sometimes detoured. The authorities are urging people to leave their cars at home for the time being, although the situation began to improve in the afternoon.
The east of the country is expecting more snow on Friday and Saturday. Meteorologists warn that some 15 to 20 centimetres of fresh snow should fall in Moravia and eastern Bohemia over the weekend, so we can expect more problems on roads in that part of the country. However, in Prague and the west the weather should be freezing but sunny so traffic here is expected to return to normal on Friday.