Snowstorm traps drivers in Estonia

2010-12-10 13:59
Tallinn - Emergency services in Estonia urged residents in the Baltic state's north to stay at home on Friday after heavy snowfalls which left hundreds trapped in their vehicles.

"Very difficult weather conditions are preventing the clearing of snow from roads," Reimo Raja, a spokesperson for the Estonian rescue board, told the Baltic News Service.

"Snow clearance on the main roads is complicated and secondary roads in Harju county and in Viru counties are not drivable right now," he said.

Harju county includes the Estonian capital Tallinn, while the two Viru counties lie to the city's east, on the main highway to Russia.

Raja said that several hundred people were stranded on the highway, with cars, buses and trucks stuck in the snow.

He warned that it could several hours to reach all snow-hit vehicles, and urged people to stay at home so as not to swell the jams.

Much of Tallinn's ring-road was closed, with stranded trucks blocking traffic, while public transport in the city was still running, albeit with major delays.

The Baltic nation of 1.3 million people is used to hard winters, but even it has been caught out by the scale of the snow.

A sharp storm overnight brought about 20cm of snow.

Raja also said that in view of potential power outages residents should keep their mobile phones fully charged and have a candle or a flashlight at hand.

Read more on:    estonia  |  weather

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