The first winter storm of the season unloaded significant snowfall across northern and eastern Turkey into Friday.
The coldest air of the season thus far rushed southward across the Black Sea, causing intense snow squalls in Istanbul from Thursday into Thursday night.
The snow quickly covered roadways, making travel hazardous and extremely difficult for motorists. Airline passengers faced lengthy delays and cancellations.
Hundreds of flights were canceled in Istanbul according to Al Jazeera. The snow also caused numerous accidents in and around Istanbul, killing at least one person and injuring many more.
Snowfall totaled 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) across Istanbul and the surrounding area, with even heavier snow falling in the mountains to the east of the city.
The unseasonably cold air that set the stage for this storm will last through the weekend. Temperatures later this week will be held 6-10 degrees Celsius (10-20 degrees Fahrenheit) below normal.
High temperatures will range from 2-4 C (36-40 F) in Istanbul through Sunday, and the air will feel even colder as a gusty wind blows.
#Turkey Snow in Istanbul #AFP Photo by @ozannkosee and @yasinnakgul pic.twitter.com/1Y1KmLdAnA— Aurelia BAILLY (@AureliaBAILLY) December 31, 2015
Heavy snow buried the remainder of Turkey's Black Sea coast with many areas seeing blizzard conditions during the worst of the storm.
To the east of Istanbul, Zonguldak reported 20-30 cm (8-12 inches), while nearby Bartin has more than 75 cm (30 inches) of snow on the ground.
The snow squalls produced a large variation in snowfall over small distances as western parts of Samsun received around 15 cm (6 inches) with nearly 60 cm (24 inches) just east of the city.
Along Turkey's northeast coast, Rize and Hopa received heavy rainfall total 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) before changing to heavy snow that blanketed the region from Thursday into Friday.
Erzurum, Van and surrounding areas in eastern Turkey have already seen significant snowfall with more expected before tapering off until Saturday midday.
A persistent snow has already accumulated 15-30 cm (6-12 inches) in these cities with localized higher amounts. The surrounding mountains will have widespread totals in excess of 60 cm (24 inches).
Outside the mountains, a heavy snow has already fallen in parts of eastern Turkey with more than 60 cm (24 inches) already on the ground in Mus.
A rare snow has affected areas south of the southeastern Taurus Mountains, from Gaziantep to Batman.
While snow has been generally light near Gaziantep, areas from Mardin to Batman are expected to receive snow totals of 30 cm (12 inches) into early Saturday morning.
Another storm will target Turkey with unsettled weather early next week. Milder air arriving with this storm will cause mainly rain across northern and western Turkey from Sunday into Monday; however, accumulating snow is expected across the interior and eastern areas on Monday and Tuesday.