Cold weather snap across Europe leaves several dead

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A Siberian weather system forecasters have called the “beast from the east” brought the coldest temperatures for years to many regions across Europe.

Several people were killed in Europe as snow and sub-zero temperatures across the continent saw flights cancelled, road and rail transport disrupted and schools closed on Tuesday.

A Siberian weather system forecasters have called the “beast from the east” brought the coldest temperatures for years to many regions.

The freeze was expected to continue for much of the week.

A man cleans a boat covered with ice in Bakarac, Croatia on February 27, 2018.
A man cleans a boat covered with ice in Bakarac, Croatia on February 27, 2018. (Reuters)

Five dead in Poland

Poland’s police say that five people died from the cold overnight, when temperatures dropped in some areas to -22 C (-7.6 F.)

That brought the number of deaths from hypothermia to 58 this winter, according to national police statistics.

Such deaths usually occur among homeless people or drunk people who stay outside during the night.

Authorities in some cities and towns, especially in the east where temperatures are lowest, will be placing coal heaters in the streets to help people keep warm.

Blizzards in Romania kills three

Blizzards are battering Romania and leaving scores of roads blocked by snowdrifts. At least three deaths have been reported.

A worker removes snow from a railway switch point close to the North Station in Bucharest, Romania, on February 27, 2018.
A worker removes snow from a railway switch point close to the North Station in Bucharest, Romania, on February 27, 2018. (AFP)

Officials closed dozens of roads in south and east Romania on Tuesday after heavy snowfall overnight. Some drivers were stranded all night by the snow.

Officials said a 65-year-old man was found frozen to death outside his home in northern Romania, and an 83-year-old woman collapsed on the street unconscious and was covered in snow. She died later in the hospital.

Health officials said a 74-year-old woman was found unconscious in a dilapidated house in the eastern city of Galati and later died of hypothermia. It was the sixth cold-related death in the city this year.

Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea said schools would remain closed in the capital until the end of the week.

Travel disruptions in UK

Heavy snow in parts of Britain is causing disruptions to road, rail and air travel and has forced hundreds of schools across the country to close.

A man carries an umbrella during a snow shower in London, Britain, on February 27, 2018.
A man carries an umbrella during a snow shower in London, Britain, on February 27, 2018. (Reuters)

Snow and ice warnings were in place on Tuesday in eastern Britain. Met Office forecasters said some rural communities could be completely cut off with power cuts and weakened mobile phone signals.

Major train companies reported cancellations and disrupted service. The affected networks include Greater Anglia, the London Overground, South Western Railway and others.

British Airways cancelled a number of short-haul flights, while trying to preserve its long-haul schedule to and from London Heathrow Airport.

Strong snow is expected on Wednesday in northeast England and Scotland as the intense wintry weather continues.

Netherlands

Dutch authorities have banned boats from some of Amsterdam’s iconic canals in a move aimed at helping them freeze over so that residents can lace up their skates and glide over the frozen waterways.

A snowstorm arrives at the island of Schiermonnikoog, Waddensea, the Netherlands, on February 27, 2018.
A snowstorm arrives at the island of Schiermonnikoog, Waddensea, the Netherlands, on February 27, 2018. (Reuters)

Freezing temperatures gripping much of Europe are also hitting the Dutch capital, where people were last able to skate on the canals in 2012.

As well as banning boats, the local water authority said Tuesday it is closing sluices and locks to help ice growth by slowing the movement of water.

While there is not enough ice yet and the weather forecast suggests rising temperatures after the weekend, Alderman Udo Kock says, “we are doing everything we can to allow residents and visitors to hopefully be able to skate on the canals.”

Migrants exposed to cold in Paris

Some migrants in the French capital have been exposed to the Siberian cold front that has engulfed Paris and large swathes of France with little more than tents and sleeping bags.

In the makeshift camp set up along the banks of a canal that runs through northeast Paris, a group of largely Afghan migrants lit a small fire on Tuesday morning to warm up their hands after a sleepless night that saw temperatures drop below -5 C (23 F).

Saraj, a 27-year-old migrant from Afghanistan who arrived in Paris three weeks ago, told The Associated Press he hadn’t managed to get any rest the night before.

Temperatures are set to rise later this week but Saraj’s group will probably have to put up with some heavy rain.

Mercury drops to -10 C in Germany

Germany has suffered one of its coldest nights, with the temperature dropping below minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) in large parts of the country.

The German meteorological office said on Tuesday it recorded a temperature of minus 30.4 C atop the country’s highest peak, the Zugspitze, overnight.

Much of Europe is currently experiencing low temperatures due to a blast of icy air from the northeast.

The German chancellery says it has canceled a display of military honors planned on Wednesday in Berlin for the arrival of Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, “due to the weather.”

Source: AFP
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