| POSTOJNA, Slovenia
POSTOJNA, Slovenia Feb 4 Snow and ice has
paralysed Slovenia, bringing down trees and electricity pylons,
cutting power from 50,000 homes and causing millions of euros of
Three days of blizzards inflicted "the worst devastation in
living memory" in the small Alpine country, local media said.
More bad weather is expected this week.
Fluctuating temperatures caused snow to half melt and then
freeze again, leaving parked cars entombed in a thick shell of
In and around the city of Postojna, in the west, people used
axes to try to free their cars from ice 15 cm (6 inches) thick.
With railways at a standstill and some petrol stations and
even bank ATM machines frozen solid, the country faced millions
of euros of losses through infrastructure damage and economic
inertia. Slovenia's busiest port, Koper, ground to a halt.
Slovenia has suffered the worst weather in the region, which
also hit neighbouring Croatia. The environment agency warned
that more snow was on its way.
"After a brief 24-hour respite, a new period of bad weather
is coming," the agency's Brane Gregorcic told a news conference.
"It may not be heavy, but it will be an additional burden and
create new troubles."
Roughly half of Slovenia's forests, 500,000 hectares (1.2
million acres), has been damaged, authorities have estimated.
An added risk is flooding once the ice melts, experts
Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said: "We will do everything
we can to stabilise the situation as soon as possible, but it
will take a while."
(Reporting by Almir Demirovic and Maja Zuvela; Writing by Zoran
Radosavljevic; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)