Spring is not coming to Ukraine yet. Starting from Saturday, March 17, two cyclones from the southwest brought another cold snap to the country: the temperature dropped to -8 degrees, the western and northern regions are covered with snow, and the eastern and southern regions were showered with rain.
The next day, snowfalls and blizzards spread throughout the entire territory of Ukraine, reports of the blackouts in dozens of settlements, traffic obstruction and other consequences of the weather followed.
In general, the services took the challenge well. As of 13:00 March 19, traffic on roads has been restored, airports and sea trading ports operate in a regular mode, there was no information on the delay of trains, and public utilities in cities were working fine.
However, for individual settlements, the snow test proved to be too much. The situation was the worst in Dnipro city.
Earlier, local authorities reported that due to worsening weather conditions, the city's communal workers will work in an enhanced regime. Allegedly, more than 70 units of special equipment were attracted to fight against snow, there is no shortage of pouches and the situation is under control. The only thing - they asked residents not to park cars on sidewalks and, if possible, use public transport.
"Despite the weather conditions, we did not stop the traffic of trucks around the city. Only 4 heavy vehicles were stopped during the day, all of them were on summer tires. In one or two days the city will be completely clean. All the transport will be able to use the roads on March 19. There will be no problems. We are cleaning the entrances to hospitals and schools. No additional holiday is needed, " the deputy mayor Mykhailo Lysenko said.
However, on March 19, the residents of the city faced the cruel reality: public transport could not use the roads of Dnirpo. It was blocked by snow as the city services and snow-clearing equipment could not handle the natural disaster that shook the regional centre.
“Friends, believe me, the enterprises would like to transport everyone but the city services did not clear the exit streets from the car parks, moreover, from trolley bus and trams depot. Somewhere, there is waist-deep snow or even deeper. Also, the trucks and other transport that blocked almost all highways did not allow the route buses to get to the massifs and out of them,” Mykhailo Tonkonohy, the Head of the Trade Union of Drivers and Road Haulers of Dnipro reported on Facebook.
In other words, the traffic collapse occurred in the morning in the city. People lined up in the long queues, waiting for the transport, many of them were late for work, and some of them did not get there and returned home.
However, they had to walk on the roadway as the city services firstly cleared the main highways and left the pavements for later.
Gradually, the trucks that blocked the movement were removed; the route vehicles began to reach the distant districts of the city.
The city takes a day off
The situation got somewhat under control only in the afternoon. “Main highways, bridges and crossovers have been cleared. Commercial trucks are being accompanied by the police. We observe significant kneading of automobile and electric transport service” – the deputy mayor Mykhaylo Lysenko noted. Some photographs posted by locals on social media show that snowbanks, after the snow-clearing equipment has passed, reach as high as several meters in some places. Why has the city not been cleared of snow as had been promised? The mayor’s office explains this by a miscalculation on the part of meteorologists. Nobody expected Dnipro region to become the epicenter of bad weather.
According to information from the mayor of Dnipro Borys Filatov, two-month precipitation happened within just one day in the city. “Yes, this is a natural disaster. Yes, we got two-month precipitation within just one day. Yes, of course, we are doing nothing. Yes, we have suspended the service of public transportation, because it was the city officials who had parked their cars along the line. Yes, we have so much snow that it is impossible to sweep it anywhere”, - he wrote on Facebook. Also, Filatov warned that more snow is supposed to fall on Wednesay, 21 March. At the same time, once the snow begins to melt from next Monday, it is necessary to prepare for flooding. Forecast: the weather is expected to get warmer after Wednesday, 21 March.
In Dnipro city, due to the snow, which paralyzed transport, schoolchildren were released for early holidays and state employees – for two days. In the schools of Dnipro, starting from tomorrow, March 20, they announced six-day holidays. They will last until March 26. Traditionally spring holidays last from March 26 to April 1. In kindergartens, duty groups will work on Tuesday and Wednesday in case of a significant decrease in the number of children.
The mayor urged the heads of enterprises to promptly ensure the cleaning of the adjacent territories.
On March 20 and 21, in the city council of the Dnipro, its executive bodies and municipal enterprises, except those that prevent emergencies, will be the days off. To quickly eliminate traffic jams and clear sidewalks, the mayor's office temporarily allowed communal workers to evacuate vehicles that interfere with the cleaning of snow. In his Facebook, Filatov promised to "mercilessly evacuate" cars parked that way.