Bad weather causing travel chaos in the Balkans

February 2, 2014
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A road sweeping vehicle clears snow from the road near the city of Backa Topola, northern Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Snow drifts formed by stormy winds have blocked two passenger trains and dozens of vehicles in northern Serbia, while authorities closed down several roads and a border crossing with Hungary. The state railway company says two trains to and from Hungary got stuck early on Saturday because of meters-high snow piles that formed on the railway. Emergency officials say several dozen passengers from the trains will be evacuated.(AP Photo/Darko Dozet) SERBIA OUT

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Tens of thousands were without electricity in Slovenia, Austria and Croatia on Sunday after icy rain and sleet caused major disruptions. Hundreds of motorists were evacuated overnight from their vehicles in Serbia, where massive snow drifts have caused widespread travel chaos.

Authorities in Slovenia several roads have been blocked and schools have been advised to close on Monday if necessary. In neighboring Croatia, freezing rain also forced road closure and shut down some railway traffic.

Serbian government minister Aleksandar Antic said that altogether more than 5,000 people have been evacuated in the past several days when authorities used a military helicopter, tanks and armored vehicles to reach stranded people. Several dozen cars remain stuck, he said.

In the southern Austrian province of Carinthia bordering Slovenia, up to 3,000 homes were without electricity for hours following freezing rain on Sunday, the Austria Press Agency reported.

Some railway lines reopened following recent closures, but two routes connecting Austria with Italy remained closed on Sunday.

In southeastern Poland, some 20 villages were cut off by snow drifts, Administration Minister Rafal Trzaskowski said. Workers were clearing road and authorities were helping deliver food.