GENEVA – A persistent blizzard early Thursday saw Geneva waking up to snowed-in streets, stranded buses, delays to the transport system and the closure of the city’s airport, according to Switzerland’s federal weather office, MeteoSwiss.
The snow storm began just after midnight, growing in intensity by dawn, and showed no sign of abating.
The weather office said Geneva’s region was under a level 3 warning for snowfall and considerable danger, adding it was “very overcast with frequent sleet and temperatures ranging between -4 and 0 degrees Celsius (-24.8 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit).”
The result has been a large accumulation of snow on roads, railways, and tramlines.
The airport remained closed and would remain so in the next hours due to heavy snow on its runways.
On local roads and nearby highways, there have been a large number of accidents due to skidding vehicles.
First responders had to intervene in dozens of incidents due to blocked streets and jack-knifed public transport, while whole districts saw traffic grind to a complete halt.
Fire services also had to deal with ruptured water pipes due to the city having endured freezing temperatures for over a week.
The City Hall has instructed shelters to remain open all day to avoid the homeless population remaining outside in the snow.