Just four centimeters (1.5 inches) worth of snowfall over central Hungary has caused delays of over an hour on several train lines, while in Budapest many buses were forced to take alternate routes and some trolley lines were paralyzed by power outages on Monday.
National Meteorological Service OMSZ predicted quite accurately both the timing and the size of the snowfall (equal to the average precipitation for the full month of December), but municipalities, local public transport and train services were somehow still caught off guard.
The snowfall in Budapest began in the early hours of Monday and by 9 a.m., the peak hour of the morning rush, practically all major roads in the capital came to a crawl or even a standstill in the hilly Buda region.
While the chaos was neither unprecedented nor of unusual proportions, this year it also had a political component, with many media reports putting the blame squarely on Budapest’s recently elected liberal mayor Gergely Karácsony, who replaced conservative mayor István Tarlós after ten years at the helm of the capital.
Title image: Snow plough in Hungary’s northern Mátra mountains (MTI/Péter Komka)