World Bulletin/News Desk
About 40,000 homes on the outskirts of Budapest went without electricity on Tuesday as freezing rain blanketed the area and falling trees cut power lines, Hungary's Disaster Relief Agency said.
Heavy branches fell and entire trees toppled as ice as thick as 10 centimetres (4 inches) coated them, threatening entire forests in altitudes above 400 metres, according to people who ventured to higher-lying areas.
Forestry services closed off large tracts of land located higher than 400 metres above sea level to prevent injuries. No deaths or injuries have been reported.
One forestry worker who visited the Borzsony Mountains north of Budapest said the woods echoed with loud cracks and hissing sounds as branches and trunks gave way under tons of ice.
"We literally had to flee the woods because those trees and branches could come down on you at any moment," said the forester, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to talk to the media.
On Budapest's hilly Buda side, the local mayor asked families not to send their children to school because it was not safe to walk beneath trees that could have tons of ice coating their branches.
Public transit service was disrupted in several places and the ring road around Budapest was closed for several kilometres as a high-voltage power line threatened to collapse, the road maintenance agency Magyar Kozut said.
Hungarian grid operator MAVIR told the state news agency MTI that several high-capacity power lines were disrupted when pylons holding them up fell. Repairs could take months but electricity supply would remain unaffected, MAVIR said.Last Mod: 03 Aralık 2014, 00:23