Heavy snowfall has continued to cause complications on roads throughout
the Czech Republic, although conditions in many areas improved on Saturday.
Most major roads were cleared but meteorologists have warned drivers to
continue exercising caution as additional snow (up to 30 centimetres) is
expected over the weekend. Snowdrifts and also freezing rain have also been
hitting parts of the country, including the region of Hradec Králové.
Poor road conditions claimed three lives in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday: two motorists were killed on Friday night, while a 25-year old driver died on Saturday morning after her car collided with a bus near Karviná. Police believe that the driver lost control of her vehicle after hitting an icy patch. Friday alone saw some 300 traffic accidents.
The news website Tn.cz has reported that part of a roof covering an industrial complex in Chrást near Chrudim, collapsed on Saturday under the weight of new snow. No one was hurt in the incident, as the hall was empty at the time. Fire fighters turned off electrical power and secured the site; an investigation into the collapse will be conducted. Four years ago, the Czech Republic saw a similar incident when a supermarket roof caved in under the weight of snow, leaving one person slightly injured.
A rise in car exports has helped stop a 12-month decline in Czech exports and to improve the country’s trade surplus in November, the AFP news agency has reported, citing figures released this week. The overall trade surplus amounted to 14.5 billion crowns (the equivalent of 552 million euros) the Czech Statistical Office reported, against a 42-milion euro gap in November in 2008. Exports were flat compared with the level in 2008 – the best result since the global downturn began one year ago, while imports dropped by 8.0 percent. The Czech Statistical Office pointed to the automotive industry as having had the greatest positive impact towards the improvement.
The Czech energy giant ČEZ is planning to build the country’s largest solar power generator, to be completed in a year’s time, the Czech daily Lidové noviny has reported. According to the daily, the firm commissioned the project from several companies. The plant’s planned 30 megawatt output will make it three times more powerful than the strongest current Czech facility. The plant is to be built at a site near České Budějovice.
A park at the Kačina chateau, near Kutná Hora, some 90 kilometres from Prague, will be restored to its original 19th century splendour, organisers have said; the renovation project will cost 60 million crowns. Renovation will take place over several stages and is expected to take three years to completion. Some 20 million crowns will come from European funds, the head of the castle museum, confirmed. The English-style park was founded in 1789 by Jan Rudolf Chotek.
Czech tennis player Radek Štepánek will the US top seed Andy Roddick in the Brisbane International men’s singles final on Sunday, after downing French opponent Gael Monfils by a score of 6:2, 6:1. Štepánek will be defending his title win from last year. For a while it appeared the tournament might see an all-Czech final, before Roddick defeated Štepánek’s colleague Tomas Berdych in three sets. The score in that match was 6:1, 3:6, 4:6. The Brisbane International is the last run-up to the season’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open.
Heavy snow is causing traffic complications across the Czech Republic. The situation is reported to be worst in Moravia, the eastern part of the country, where traffic has been seriously disrupted, despite the fact that maintenance crews have been working around-the-clock. The police report a number of chain accidents on the D1 highway from Prague to Brno and have warned drivers not to set out if they can postpone their trip. Long cues are forming on the city’s highways and the Transport Ministry ordered the Rozvadov and Břeclav border crossings to be closed to trucks for several hours on Friday in order to give maintenance crews a chance to clear the roads. Over half a meter of fresh snow is expected to fall over the weekend.