Rome, Feb 26 (IANS) Rome has been covered in several centimetres of snow since early Monday morning after an icy blast from Siberia triggered heavy snowfall, leading to traffic chaos and the closure of schools.
The freezing Siberian wind, called Buran, reached Italy on Sunday and caused heavy snowfall in the north and generated an intense cold wave with temperatures hitting 20 degrees Celsius below zero in some areas.
It arrived on Monday in central Italy and Rome, where it has not snowed so heavily since 2012 and despite the traffic chaos that ensued, local people and tourists were seen enjoying the unusual snowfall and the snow-covered monuments in the capital, including the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Square.
The civil protection working committee met in Rome in the morning to monitor the cold wave situation in the capital, which is expected to last for at least 36 hours, Efe news reported.
The snowfall has led to huge traffic snarls on the roads leading to the capital and delayed several trains. The city’s metro is operating as usual but there are fewer public buses plying on the roads.
Firefighters also had to be called in to clear the roads of tree branches that fell unable to bear the weight of the snow.
There were no reports of flights being cancelled in Rome’s Fiumicino and Ciampino airports as yet, although some delays in outgoing flights were registered and passengers were told to contact the airlines they were flying for more information.