Heavy snow may halt travel across parts of Balkans in final days of February

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 25, 2018, 11:15:31 AM EST

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Residents across the Balkan Peninsula should prepare for multiple days of school closures and other significant disruptions to travel and daily routines in the final days of February.

As frigid air plunging down from Siberia clashes with an active storm track, the stage will be set for rounds of snow to spread across the Balkans to close out February.

The initial storm will spread snow across the Balkans into Monday night with a second round quickly following on its heels later Monday into Wednesday.

Both storms will eventually track into Ukraine and neighboring parts of Russia.

"These storms will track farther south compared to the previous storm, which will mean snow reaching as far south as the mountains of Greece," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.

Disruptive Snow Balkans 2.24 AM


"Because of how cold this air mass is, snow will even reach some lower elevations, especially away from the coast," Thompson said.

The first storm alone is expected to unload enough snow to shut down travel and halt daily routines. Gusty winds will worsen the situation in some communities by blowing and drifting the snow around, creating reduced visibility for motorists.

The hardest-hit areas through Monday night will be from Macedonia to western and northern Bulgaria and southern Romania, where snow totals will reach or exceed 30 cm (1 foot). This includes in Skopje, Macedonia, Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Craiova, Romania.

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Travel will become extremely difficult as the snow clogs roads. The snow will fall heavily at times, making it hard for crews to keep roads clear. Airports may be forced to shut down for a time.

Motorists who must travel are urged to pack a winter survival kit in the event you become stranded.

The snow will be beneficial for the ski resorts, but the risk for avalanches will be high.

BalkanSnow 2/25


Elsewhere, difficult travel, school closures and postponements to other plans can be anticipated in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bucharest, Romania; and Belgrade and Nis, Serbia.

How much snow whitens communities along the coast of the Black Sea, such as Varna and Burgas, Bulgaria, will depend on whether the storm track shifts northward to allow more rain to fall than snow or if frigid air plunges far enough south.

Odds currently favor snow and significant disruptions winning out in Varna, while rain mixing with snow may limit accumulations in Burgas to a slushy several centimeters (a couple of inches).

On the heels of the late-week snowstorms, residents will have to contend with more snow in Croatia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the heaviest snow is expected to the south, enough snow may still fall to renew slippery travel.


Disruptions to travel and daily routines may only mount as the second storm follows across the southern and eastern Balkans later on Tuesday into Wednesday.

Secondary roads, sidewalks and driveways that are not cleared after the first storm will become further snow-packed and more difficult to clear.

Schools closed on Monday may remain closed or delayed for multiple days.

Residents will want to be sure to bundle up when heading outside either to clear sidewalks and driveways or play with children.

Temperatures will be held 6-12 degrees Celsius (10-20 degrees Fahrenheit) below normal in the final days of February. Highs this time of year typically range from 4-10 C (40s F) across the Balkans.

As the storms begin to spread to the Balkans, snow will also fall across the Apennines and some of the lower elevations of northern Italy. This includes in Bologna and even in the coastal communities of Rimini and Ancona.

Some wet snow can not be ruled out in and near Rome on Monday morning.

Drier air and fresh cold may replace the second storm across the Balkans at midweek. However, a new storm is likely to follow quickly and deliver more wintry weather to start March.

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