Gale-force winds and heavy rain and snow hit large parts of Bulgaria on Sunday, claiming the lives of two people and causing severe damage and disrupting power supply in towns and villages, officials said on Sunday.

Residents in eastern Bulgaria, that was hit hardest by the storm said they had never experienced such weather.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Black Sea city of Varna, where officials said the extreme weather poses serious risks to the population. The port city was struck by gale-force winds and torrential rain mixed with snow.

The mayor's office reported that the power supply is disrupted in all boroughs of Varna, key roads are blocked by fallen trees and branches, leaving vehicles stranded. It called on citizens to stay at home and not to use their cars except in urgent cases.

Varna International Airport was open, but there were delayed and canceled flights, airport officials said.

On Saturday, police reported that a man had died after his van hit a fallen tree on a major boulevard in the capital, Sofia, while in Varna, a woman died instantly after being struck by a falling tree branch.

Bulgarian meteorologists issued warnings for dangerous weather for most of eastern Bulgaria on Sunday, with winds gusting up to 125 kph (78 mph). The heavy rain is expected to turn into snow due to falling temperatures.