After snowfalls and blizzards, Romania is now in the grip of extreme cold.
Biting cold has hit Romania, after days in which heavy snowfalls and snowstorms disrupted road and railway transport and left many villages and towns isolated or experiencing power shortages. On Tuesday morning, nine citizens from the Republic of Moldova were rescued by emergency response teams from a minibus stranded in the snow in the east of the country.
These days, it is the extreme cold that causes problems in Romania. Weather experts say this is one of the hardest winters in years, because of the very low temperatures reported for days and nights in a row. The weather station at Intorsura Buzaului, in the east, Tuesday morning registered the lowest temperature so far this winter, minus 32 degrees Celsius. On New Year’s eve, at Intorsura Buzaului, thermometers read minus 24 degrees Celsius, with no records above freezing temperature ever since.
The lowest temperature officially reported in the last 50 years was minus 35.9 degrees Celsius, at Intorsura Buzaului, Covasna County, in February 2005. This record had not been broken since 1939. Meteorologists had actually issued a code orange alert against extreme cold for most of the country, valid on Monday and Tuesday, while the west of Romania was under a code yellow alert.
Bad weather is further reported in the south-east of the country, where a code orange blizzard alert is in place from Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon. The wind is expected to reach 80 km per hour, with blowing snow reducing visibility to less than 50 m. A yellow code snowfall alert is also valid from Tuesday night until Wednesday night in the south and east.
Because of the low temperatures, the kindergartens, schools and high schools in Bucharest will stay closed until Monday, the Mayor General Gabriela Firea announced. She explained the decision was made after consultations with the Education Ministry, physicians and parents. Classes were also suspended on Tuesday in several other counties, and 9 universities in Bucharest, Constanta and Oradea were also closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, authorities claim Romania is prepared to cope with extreme cold, even if this wave continues. On Monday, natural gas consumption was estimated at an all-time high, 72 million cubic metres per day, as compared to 66 million cubic metres a day last year. According to the Energy Minister Toma Petcu, Romania has enough natural gas and will have no problems in the long run.
(Translated by Ana Maria Popescu)