Blizzard in a forest. Credit: Alex Stemmers

Snowstorms hit Turkey

27 November 2004 10:00 UTC

Blizzard in a forest. Credit: Alex Stemmers
Blizzard in a forest. Credit: Alex Stemmers

At least 19 people were killed, roads were blocked and more than thousand villages were isolated as heavy snowstorms hit Turkey in the last week of November 2004.

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Published on

27 November 2004

More than 900 villages in central and eastern Anatolia suffered power cuts and telephone lines came down in many areas because of heavy snowfall.

A number of domestic flights were cancelled, rural roads were closed and around 2600 villages remained snowbound, according to the Anatolia news agency. Schools were closed down for two days in Yozgat, just 150km east of the capital, Ankara, where the snowfall continued for three days (24–26 November 2004).

The Meteosat-8 images below show the weather and snow situation over Turkey the day after the snowstorm. Due to the north-westerly winds that pushed moist air from the Black Sea against the mountain ranges, the northern part of Turkey is still covered by low-level clouds, while most the rest of Turkey is cloud free.

The fresh snow in Central and Eastern Turkey is clearly visible in the RGB composites (see colour interpretation below Figure 1). In the NIR1.6–VIS0.6 difference image, the snow covered areas appear with an intense black colour that indicates large negative values in the difference image. Indeed, the reflectivity of snow in the NIR1.6 channel is much lower than in the VIS0.6 channel (see figure). This is not the case for optically thick clouds.

Another interesting feature in the images below is the cold air outflow from snow-covered Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea. The cold air coming from the north picks up humidity and heat from the sea surface, which leads to the onset of convection in the form of cumulus cloud streets. Typically, the convective cells get larger and deeper the further the cold air runs over warm, open water due to the continuous heat and humidity input. By the time they reach the coast of Egypt and the Middle East, these convective clouds can be large enough to produce rain showers.

Met-8, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Figure 1: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite VIS0.8, NIR1.6, IR3.9r, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC. Colour Interpretation
Met-8, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Figure 2: Meteosat-8 RGB Composite NIR1.6, VIS0.8, VIS0.6, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Met-8, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Figure 3: Meteosat-8 Difference Image NIR1.6–VIS0.6, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Met-8, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC
Figure 4: Meteosat-8 Difference Image IR3.9–IR10.8, 27 November 2004, 10:00 UTC

Additional content

Full-resolution Meteosat-8 channel 12 (HRV) image, 27 Nov 2004, 10:00 UTC
Surface chart, 27 Nov 2004, 00:00 UTC (source: Deutscher Wetterdienst)
Radiosounding Ankara, Turkey, 27 Nov 2004, 12:00 UTC (source: Deutscher Wetterdienst)