Frost death toll reaches 13


The lowest temperature of this winter was -23.6 degrees Celsius at Miercurea Ciuc.

After weeks of snow warning codes and blizzard, freezing descended upon Romania. Secretary of State with Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) Raed Arafat MD announced on Friday that the death toll caused by frost reached 13 between January 26 and 31, most of them elderly people who slipped on the pavement or homeless people. According to Arafat, among the casualties there were also people who drank alcohol prior to hypothermia. The thermometers dropped to almost -24 degrees Celsius in Miercurea Ciuc on Saturday morning, the lowest temperature recorded this year. The relentless freezing does not scare people anymore, who say they got used to long winters. The meteorologists expect temperatures to drop down to -30 degrees this winter in that area,. The lowest temperature of February in Harghita County was recorded in 1987 in Miercurea Ciuc, -35.2 degrees Celsius.
The capital city turned into a giant freezer as well, with -14 degrees recorded on Saturday morning and -11 in the afternoon, 13 degrees less than the seasonal usual value. Although temperatures will rise in Bucharest, the weather will still be cold for this period. For instance, -7 to -5 degrees in the morning and -1 to 0 degrees the maximum value of the day. The sky will be mostly cloudy and snow will fall here and there, and the wind will blow moderately, with some stronger gusts from time to time.
The weather will be cold in the mountains, especially in the East Carpathians in the morning and at night. In the southern part of East Carpathians and the eastern part of South Carpathians, the sky will be mostly cloudy and it will snow from time to time, and in the rest of the mountain areas the weather will be nice and sunny. Fog and hard rime will occur in the depressions. The winter layer is consistent in most mountain resorts  and is 62 cm high in Sinaia, 32 in Predeal, 29 in Poiana Brasov, 20 cm in Paltinis, 22 in Arieseni and 20 at Straja.
According to Ministry of Transports, the intervention teams responsible with breaking ice on the Danube, who supervise and coordinate the actions on the Danube sector between Bazias and Sulina, was activated on Friday as the weather of the past days led to ice floes and ice dams on the Danube. Currently, in Tulcea and upstream Tulcea, ice is drifting. The navigation was closed yesterday on the Danube in the Moldova Noua area, Caras-Severin County, between km 1040 and 1075, due to the strong wind of 75 km per hour, with dozens of ships remaining on the river.
Yellow Code over strong winds
Botosani, Suceava, Caras-Severin, Timis and Sibiu counties were under a code yellow over strong winds yesterday by 2 pm, according to weather nowcasting warnings issued by the National Meteorology Administration (ANM). In Botosani and Suceava, the wind locally blew with 50 to 55 km/h, blowing the snow. The warning for Timis and Caras-Severin was especially for the southern part of these counties, where the wind reached 80 km/h in some areas. In southern Sibiu, and the city of Sibiu, Valea Oltului and the mountain adjacent area, the wind blew in gusts over 80 km/h and blew the snow in the mountains. Sunday morning, the southern parts of Caras-Severin County, especially Oravita and Moldova Noua towns, were under code orange over strong wind, with gusts over 90 km/h reported.
For the early part of the week, the meteorologists announced the weather will still be cold for this period in the areas outside the Carpathians and in some central areas, frost will occur at night in most Moldavia and Transylvania as well as in the Getic Foothills, whereas the temperature will be closer to the normal value of the period in the rest of the country, even slightly warmer. On Tuesday, the day temperature will be close to the normal period values in the inner Carpathian areas and will be lower than the average period values in the South and East. Thus, the maximum temperatures will range between -8 degrees in the depressions and 7 degrees in West and North-West.
Roads still closed. Restrictions held
Two villages were still isolated in Braila County on Saturday night, whereas the last two villages under the snow in Buzau County, namely Mitropolia and Smardan, were cleared. Eleven county roads are still blocked. Road traffic is difficult on DN 2B, DN 21 and DN 22B due to snow, traffic for over 7.5 tonnes is still restricted on DN 23 Braila-Gulianca-Vrancea, and the traffic is available only on a single lane on DN 22 Braila-Gradistea-border with Buzau County. On DN 22, between Ramnicu Sarat and Braila, the traffic was restricted up to 7.5 tonnes, and on DN 2C, between Costesti –Smeeni and the border with Ialomita County, the traffic is restricted for vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes.
Prefects of Braila and Constanta resigned
Braila prefect Gheorghi Obreja who remained blocked due to snow for two days in Gemenele village, whereas dozens of villages were isolated due to blizzard and snow, resigned on Friday from his position, as Minister of Defense Mircea Dusa was in the area. Constanta prefect Eugen Bola announced on Friday he resigns, as vice-PM Liviu Dragnea was visiting the county and expressed dissatisfaction at the way the county authorities acted during the red code. “I take responsibility for the error made during those moments. I should have respected all the communication procedure. There were gaps in communication, I take responsibility for it and I announce I will submit my resignation,” said prefect Bola. Nevertheless, Liviu Dragnea said the Constanta prefect made mistakes in communication but he took good measures overall and got involved in the snow clearing action.

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