Cold snap sends Europe into deep freeze

09:39, December 01, 2010      

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An ongoing cold wave with heavy snow and record low temperatures has delayed air flights and snarled road travel across much of Europe.

The Danish National Observatory reported Monday that Northern Jutland reached minus 3.8 degrees Celsius on Nov. 27, Denmark's lowest reading in November in the past 120 years.

Meanwhile, a rare snowstorm with strong winds hit Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, on Sunday. The storm blanketed Copenhagen with more than 10 cm of snow and temporarily closed the city's airport the next morning for the first time in 25 years.

Heavy snowfall caused the cancellation of 125 flights at the Munich airport in southern Germany on Monday, a spokesman said.

Capacities were halved at the airport so its two runways could be cleared of snow.

Road travel in the region was also hampered by accidents and long traffic jams, police said.

The snowfall caused more than 100 accidents, leading to many minor injuries. Roads were blocked by more than 50 lorries that crashed or got stuck in the snow.

Many provinces in western and central France have seen power outages in recent days because of the bad weather.

Meanwhile, in the Lorraine area in eastern France, some highways were closed because of snow and low temperatures.

At the same time, wintry weather also paralyzed public transportation in some cities in central France.

French health authorities also reported that a total of 54 people so far have been taken to hospitals for treatment after breathing carbon monoxide due to malfunctioning heating equipment.

Weather forecasters said the cold wave could stay in most parts of France for the next week. On Dec. 1 and Dec. 3, some areas could possibly see drop of temperatures to a record low.

In Britain, snow has been seen in England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland since last week. The cold snap gripping Britain dragged temperatures to historic lows with Wales and Northern Ireland shivering through their coldest November night since records began, according to the Meteorological Office.

The Met Office said it was the biggest snow in November for Britain since 1993.

Thermometers in Llysdinam in Powys, Wales, sank as far as minus 18 degrees Celsius while at Loch Fea in Northern Ireland they sank to minus 9.5 degrees Celsius. Both marks broke historical temperature records for November in those areas.

The Met Office also issued severe weather warnings for heavy snow for much of Scotland and northeast England.

"As winds increase into next week, it will feel increasingly cold with a significant wind chill to contend with by day and night," the office said.

In Poland and Czech, most areas suffered heavy snows last weekend. On Nov. 26 and 27, Austria and Switzerland also saw their first snow of the winter.

Source: Xinhua


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