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6 killed, dozens injured in heavy storms that battered Turkey

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At least six people, including a foreign national, died and dozens of others were injured on Monday after heavy storms hit Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul and its surrounding regions.

Two women died in Istanbul’s Esenyurt and Sultangazi districts, while a construction worker died when a collapsing wall crushed him in the northern province of Zonguldak. A person died in Kocaeli while trying to strengthen his home’s roof as strong winds ripped the structure apart and carried it onto a street.

Fatalities included a woman who died trying to protect her son from a falling roof in the Esenyurt. Both the woman and her son were reportedly buried under the roof, the public broadcaster TRT reported, and while the woman died at the scene, the child was now being treated in hospital, it said. According to TRT, witnesses described how the mother threw her body over the child in an attempt to protect him at the very last moment before the roof came down.

Adverse weather conditions prompted a one-day suspension to education for Tuesday in 11 provinces including the 15-million metropolis as well as Kocaeli, Sakarya, Yalova, Bursa, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Sinop, Tekirdağ, Bartın and Düzce in the northwest. Education was also suspended for one day at Bursa Technical, Balıkesir, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart and Yalova universities due to the fierce storm, according to the university administrations.

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In Istanbul, authorities urged citizens late Monday not to go outside unless necessary due to falling objects and clogged roads. Traffic on the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, also known as the Bosporus Bridge, was briefly halted due to security concerns, leading to hourslong traffic jams. Istanbulites suffered from long queues at bus stops as ferry services were canceled and Metrobus services crossing the Bosporus were also suspended. The Bosporus was also closed to ship traffic in both directions.

The governor’s office added that motorcycles and electric scooters will not be allowed in traffic from 11 p.m. (2000GMT) Monday to 6 p.m. (1500GMT) Tuesday due to the powerful storm.

The strong winds also forced authorities to cancel ferry services between the coastal resorts of Bodrum and Datça, the private DHA news agency reported. Some boats docked in Maltepe and Pendik suffered severe damage due to the storm, which also caused a cargo ship to collide with a pier at the Port of Ambarlı.

Seas overflowed and roofs blew away in some provinces of Izmir, Kocaeli and Bursa. Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) issued an orange-level storm warning for 17 provinces, the second-highest of the four danger levels, and a yellow alert, the third-highest danger level, for 35 provinces.

According to the TSMS, more torrential rain and thunderstorms are possible in the Marmara, Aegean, western Mediterranean and western Black Sea regions and the northwest of central Anatolia.

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Mud rain was seen in Istanbul in the morning hours due to the storm. Many drivers flocked to car washes to clean their mud-covered cars. According to the TSMS, the speed of the wind reached 129.95 kilometers per hour (80.78 miles per hour) in the Beylikdüzü district of Istanbul, 62.14 mph in the Adalar district on the Princes’ Islands and 49.71 mph around the Bosporus.

Turkey’s flag-carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) reported disruptions to its flight schedule and sent at least six planes that were unable to land to airports outside Istanbul.

A clock tower blew over because of the heavy wind in the Çatalca district. Also, two trucks and one pickup truck overturned in Çatalca. No injuries were reported.

The sea washed across the shoreline in Izmir due to the storm getting stronger in its Karşıyaka district. The roads turned into lakes and one side of the double lane road was flooded. Some homes and businesses were also flooded.

The severe storm also made life difficult for the citizens in Karşıyaka. Trams were canceled due to seawater flooding the tram line. Meanwhile, all sea voyages in Izmir were temporarily suspended due to adverse weather conditions. City crews are working to clear the water.

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The heavy storm also affected Kocaeli and caused the roofs of some houses to blow off. Due to the storm, the roof of a two-story house under construction in Kocaeli’s Körfez district was damaged. Firefighters arrived at the scene and removed the damaged roof. The planned ferry services in Izmit were also canceled.

A storm with winds reaching speeds of 80 kph in Bursa blew away roofs and knocked down trees and poles. The tram that provides citywide transportation was left stranded under a roof blown off during the storm.

A plane that could not land in Yenişehir returned to Ankara. The TSMS warned people to be cautious amid the strong winds expected to reach 90 kph. The warning also stated that the rain and thunderstorms predicted for the province are expected to remain strong until early Tuesday.

Storms are expected from the south and southwest directions in the western Black Sea region. It is estimated that the storm will turn severe with winds of up to 75-90 kph in the evening on the same day and will later taper in strength early Tuesday.

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Source: Daily Sabah

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