Snow storms wreak havoc between Poland and the Baltic states

Blizzards have paralysed road traffic on the 55-kilometre stretch of main road between Poland and the Baltic States while gale force winds and snow have battered the highways in Lithuania. Snowstorms between the southern Lithuanian city of Marijampole and the Polish border also caused countless accidents and forced trucks into ditches. The pile-ups have blocked access to snowploughs, which has also brought traffic to a halt.

Poland closed its border for incoming trucks on Friday morning as well but reopened it a few hours later but on the Lithuanian side the traffic was still not moving as of 1300 GMT Friday afternoon. While the E67 motorway is the main artery between Central Europe and the Baltic states connecting Prague, Warsaw, Kaunis, Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki, the stretch between Marijampole and the Polish border is mostly single-lane. According to the Lithuanian regulations, truck owners themselves are responsible for dealing with accidents, delaying the removal of stuck vehicles.

Meanwhile, western parts of Lithuania have also suffered from the strong winds. A few buses slid off the roads while postal services have warned of delays. The main port of Klaipeda has been closed since late Wednesday and in the most popular resort of Palanga, gale force gusts uprooted trees and destroyed restaurant patios.

A river also overflowed its banks and the wooden pier has been damaged.