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Europe

Europe Freezes Over

Extreme winter storms have hit large parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Even the southern European countries of the Mediterranean are experiencing an unprecedented cold-spell.

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Snow and ice on Spain's highways

Winter cold has caused havoc in the Mediterranean. In Greece, temperatures dropped to minus 20 Celsius (minus four Fahrenheit). At least five people died due to the cold.

In the mountain regions of northern Greece, snow piled up two meters high (6.6 feet). The cold snap even brought a rare snowfall to the Greek capital Athens.

In Turkey, snow and freezing temperatures killed at least two people. In the Thrace region in the north-west of the country, soldiers used armored vehicles to deliver emergency food supplies to villagers. Temperatures in the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum plunged to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit).

Freezing in the Balkans

In the Balkans, record sub-zero temperatures caused disruptions in air travel and shipping lanes. Hundreds of rail passengers were trapped in snowdrifts.

Romania's Transylvania region reported a 25-year record low of minus 31 Celsius (minus 24 Fahrenheit) earlier this week.

The southern Balkan republic of Macedonia has also been enveloped by severe cold and heavy snow. More than a hundred villages were cut off from the outside world.

In the capital Skopje, temperatures dropped to minus 23 Celsius (minus nine Fahrenheit). The city is covered with 30 cm (12 inches) of snow. According to meteorologists, the weather conditions are the worst in Macedonia for decades.

Russia

In Russia, freezing rain and ice coated power lines and caused them to snap. The Black Sea resort of Sochi was temporarily plunged in darkness. The city was only getting a quarter of its energy needs - and that was being directed to hospitals and day care centers.

Many residents sat in their apartments and had to weather the cold by candlelight. Russian television showed pictures of residents standing in line for bread.

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