Heavy winter weather batters UK, European mainland
The worst weather since 1991 trapping several hundred motorists on roads in Scotland, closing thousands of schools and grounding planes.
With up to 90 cm of snow and temperatures as low as minus 10.3 Celsius in Scotland, Britain and Ireland issued their most severe red warnings which advise people to stay at home as travel is too dangerous.
Hundreds of people were trapped in their cars overnight on the M80 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, flights and trains were cancelled across both Britain and Ireland. One doctor told Reuters that staff were snowed in at a hospital near Glasgow.
“We have seen a lot of snow overnight, blizzards and drifting,” said Clare Nasir, a meteorologist at Britain’s weather services, known as the Met Office. “Communities have been cut off and roads have been blocked.”
London’s busiest railway station, Waterloo, showed more than half of trains cancelled or delay at the height of rush hour. Southern
Railways said a 2.5 meter icicle in a tunnel was delaying services. Funerals were cancelled.
“Storm Emma is going to push up from the south and that will bring heavy snow to parts of the southwest of England in particular where we are likely to see major disruption,” Alex Burkill, a meteorologist at Britain’s weather service said.
About two dozen officials from the Paris region spent a frigid night outdoors to call attention to the plight of the homeless.
Snow began falling before they closed their eyes early on March 1 near the Austerlitz train station. The city was blanketed in white by daybreak.
Dragging blankets and sleeping bags, numerous officials, from an array of political parties, wore their blue, white and red sashes, France’s national colors, denoting their status.
At least 13 homeless have died in the Paris region since Jan. 1.
The French meteorological agency put about half the country on alert on March 1 for dangerous levels of snow, ice, floods or strong winds.
Snow blanketed Paris and the surrounding region, and authorities urged Paris commuters to leave their cars at home because of dangerous conditions.
Geneva’s airport was closed “until further notice” after the Swiss city was blanketed by snowfall overnight.
Switzerland has in recent days seen temperatures plunge to nearly -40 degrees Celsius at higher altitudes.
Demand for power and gas in Poland has set new records as freezing temperatures grip the country, electricity grid operator PSE and gas firm PGNiG said on March 1.
The cold snap has lasted a week and forecasters say it will continue until the weekend. The temperature in Warsaw was minus 10 Celsius on March 1.
Several deaths were attributed to the cold snap, including a 75-year-old man who fell through ice in the Netherlands, likely while skating.
A 38-year old man was found dead on a frozen river in northern Germany amid continuing subzero temperatures across the country, according to German news agency dpa.
In Denmark, a 54-year-old man who suffered from dementia was found dead in the snow on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm, police said.
In southern Serbia, another man suffering from dementia was found frozen to death on Feb. 28 after he disappeared from his home two days ago.
An elderly man died of cold when he went out to collect wood near Maribor in Slovenia, authorities there said. Temperatures in the country fell as low as -27 C.
Snowfall of up to 1.1 meters blanketed all of Albania, including a rare accumulation in the capital, Tirana.
In Kosovo, the Education Ministry closed all elementary and high schools Wednesday due to the extreme.