Wednesday 11 December 2019

Frozen rivers, grounded flights and dozens of deaths in Europe

Snow covers a statue of the Virgin Mary in Bikfaya, Lebanon January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Snow covers a statue of the Virgin Mary in Bikfaya, Lebanon January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Dean Gray

Heavy snow and frigid temperatures have gripped large parts of Europe, leading to dozens of deaths, frozen rivers, the grounding of planes and traffic accidents.

Temperatures dropped to an incredible -30C in some areas of Europe last week.

Temperatures in some parts of northern Greece have plunged to as low as -18C.

A state of emergency was declared in the municipality of Kymi on the island of Evia, Greece’s second largest island after Crete, where the snow in some areas reached 6.5 feet, leading to cuts to electricity and water supplies.

Chios and Lesbos are home to thousands of refugees, many living in precarious conditions in severely overcrowded camps. Many are still living in tents despite the severe weather.

The Polish government said 10 people died in the cold as the country was gripped by low temperatures.

The deaths bring to 65 the number of weather-related fatalities since November, when temperatures started falling to freezing.


Six people are believed to have died of exposure in the Czech Republic during the latest cold snap, including in the capital Prague.

Frigid weather has caused at least four deaths in the past three days in Albania.

Scores of villages, mainly in the north and northeast, have been

isolated and people have faced power and water cuts.

Serbian authorities have declared emergency measures in 11 municipalities in central and southern parts of the country as fresh snow and extremely low temperatures have blocked roads and cut off villages.

River traffic on the Danube and Sava rivers has been banned, due to ice and wind. The country’s Velika Morava river is frozen for the first time in two decades.

Turkish Airlines yesterday cancelled 277 domestic and international flights to and from Istanbul’s two airports due to heavy snow.

Now the UK is braced for the same blast with snow showers expected to bring 2cm-5cm of snow at lower levels and 10cm-20cm on ground above 200 metres.

Irish Independent

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