The town of Kladno, just outside of Prague, declared a state of calamity on Monday evening after being hit by continued heavy snowfall. Snow removal crews, the police as well as 15 prisoners from a light-security prison worked to clear blocked roads and routes. Kladno’s mayor, Dan Jiránek, explained that the declaration allowed the city to bypass regular protocol, to hire companies normally not used in snow removal to help in difficult conditions. The main priorities, he said, included removing snow from along bus routes, dead-ends in inhabited areas and the city centre. In related news, snowfall on Tuesday morning saw one flight delayed at Prague’s international airport, Ruzyně, while several others were delayed.
A part of the D8 highway from the Czech Republic to Germany on Sunday was blocked for five hours following a collision between a transport truck and a bus which left a number of travelers with light injuries. The worst were light cuts, a broken hand and a concussion. The accident took place shortly after 2 am. Thirty-four of the 45 passengers on the bus, members of a karate team returning from Germany, were sent to a hospital in Ústí nad Labem, to rule out internal injuries or bleeding. Only four people were kept in hospital for further treatment.
A bout of freezing cold weather in the Czech Republic has led to delays
and cancelations on the country’s railways: one of the routes affected
Saturday was between the capital and the west Bohemian town of Plzeň. The
Arctic weather, which saw temperatures plummet as low as -26 degrees
Celsius overnight, froze switches on the track and caused other damage
delaying transport and travel. Other routes suffered similar
a railways spokesman said; alternative transport is being provided in
Regarding delays, the first train for Nuremburg only left at 10 on Saturday morning after more than four hours wait. The Pendolino from Bohumín to Prague suffered a two-hour delay, and the EC from Prague to Vienna left 50 minutes late. Freezing cold conditions – which followed heavy snow fall earlier in the week – are expected to last throughout most of the weekend; meanwhile, officials have asked motorists to exercise extra caution on the road and avoid travel if possible.
The situation on Czech roads is slowly returning to normal following two days of severe problems due to heavy snowfall. The vast majority of roads have now been cleared and traffic along the country’s highways is slowly returning to normal. Prague’s main international airport is fully operational. Complications are expected in the eastern part of the country, Moravia, which may get another 20 centimeters of fresh snow in the course of the day. Meanwhile the western part of the country is bracing for an Arctic weekend with temperatures expected to drop to minus 25 degrees Celsius.
Heavy snowfall of up to 40 centimetres on Wednesday night and early Thursday created traffic chaos across the country. Roads were closed, trains suffered delay and Prague’s main international airport was closed for six hours before resuming flights at around 5 am. Part of the main motorway to the western border with Germany at Rozvadov was blocked Thursday morning by a stranded lorry. Elsewhere roads were closed or barely passable. In Prague, the public transport system suffered collapse on Wednesday night with trams unable to run and buses left stranded. The situation in both the capital and other parts of the country only slowly improved throughout the day.
A plane headed for Brussels, belonging to the national carrier ČSA, was forced to return to Prague’s Ruzyně Airport shortly after take-off on Thursday. The aircraft – which had had several hours’ delay due to the cold weather – reported problems with ice in the slotted flaps on the wings, forcing the pilots to turn back. A spokeswoman said that the passengers had not been in any danger. One of those on board, Deputy Transportation Minister Jakub Hodinář, reported that passengers been informed of the reason for turning back; he described the plane’s crew as having matters fully under control, the Czech news agency ČTK said.
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.
Twenty-two more people died on Czech roads during November than during the same moth in 2009 according to police figures. Eighty-one people were killed during road accidents in November, taking the total since the start of the year to 702. The Ministry of Transport at the start of the year set out the target of cutting road deaths this year to under 650. Police say many deaths and accidents continue to be caused by drinking alcohol. For example, on Saturday November 20 21 drunken drivers were involved in accidents.
Heavy snowfall complicated traffic in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The main D1 motorway between Prague and Brno was blocked following an accident involving five cars during the afternoon. Around 10 centimetres of snow fell during the day with another 20 centimetres possible overnight and on Thursday. Many lorries were left stranded at the sides of roads. High winds caused snow drifts in places.
The first snow this week seriously worsened conditions on Czech roads, a situation aggravated by the fact that some drivers are still using summer tires. A deputy for the Public Affairs party has now moved to change this. Stanislav Huml, former head of the traffic police, has tabled a proposed amendment to the law which would make winter tires obligatory from the start of November to the end of March. Huml says he is certain the bill will pass through both houses without a hitch, but due to time pressure it is unlikely to take affect this winter season.
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