Heavy snow, wind causes traffic chaos in Balkan countries

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ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatian authorities on Sunday closed all roads connecting the country’s mainland with the Adriatic Sea coastline because of heavy snow and strong wind that sparked traffic chaos in the country and elsewhere in the Balkans.

The sudden spell of wintry weather in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia this weekend came after days of unseasonably warm weather. In Serbia, people in the country’s north woke up to a snow-covered landscape while temperatures in the south reached as high as 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Columns of cars formed on the roads leading toward Croatia’s coastline. Authorities opened a former refugee center and a child care facility to drivers who were stranded until the roads reopen.

The center in Gracac, a town in the central Lika region, took in 80 people, Croatian news agency HINA reported.

Croatian media reported that many people remained stuck in their cars far from the centers, which they only would be able to reach on foot.

Bad weather also halted ferry lines linking the mainland Croatia’s coastline with the country’s islands.

Earlier, Croatian police reported that a bus overturned, killing one person and injuring several people. The accident happened shortly before midnight on Saturday in western Croatia, police said.

The bus with Albanian license plates slid to the side of the road, hit the road barrier and overturned. It was carrying nine people and the driver.

Problems with traffic were also reported in Serbia and Bosnia. Serbian authorities banned trailer trucks from roads and reported slowed traffic throughout the region.

In both Serbia and Bosnia, wet and heavy snow caused branches and trees to fall, sometimes blocking roads. In the western Serbian town of Uzice, a tree collapsed on a walking path, hitting a woman with small children but causing no serious injuries.

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