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Why can't Europe handle winter, readers wonder

As the continent was brought to a standstill by winter weather, readers wrote in with their take on the issue. Some wonder if the harsh winters are caused by climate change, while others ponder ways to deal with it.

Tracks through the snow lead off to the horizon

Snow and ice brought European airports to a halt

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Freezing weather makes travel in Europe a gamble

Hello from Canada, where a lot of us are scratching our heads and wondering what all the fuss in Europe is about. This is normal late autumn/winter weather for most of us, and things carry on pretty much as they do when there's no snow. Our airports are rarely closed due to snow, it's mostly fog that grounds flights. In any event, good luck over there! -- Jennifer, Canada

Are the severe unusually long winters which we are now having at unusual shocking low temperatures due to the volcano eruption? The snow seems to be a different unusual texture, almost dry. Salt seems to have no effect on this, which is making it unable to melt. And it has caused traffic to come to a standstill. The seasons have totally changed, and weather is no longer anything what we're used to. A lot of people are getting "chest infections" to which antibiotics are having no effect, even after their third course of treatment. Is this the start of the effects to come due to volcanic ash? Has the drastic change of weather link to the volcanic eruption been investigated? -- Moha, Ireland

Having grown up in New York, in the Catskill Mountains, I learned to drive in ice and snow at age 15 with my learners permit. In the northeastern United States, people who grow up in the cold, ice and snowy winters are used to the bad weather. The problem arises when people who are either not native to the climate, or have never learned to drive in these conditions, get on the roads behind the wheel of a car and cause accidents. When there is dangerous snow with icy conditions, you need to take extra precautions, and it usually means driving slower, taking alternate transportation (train, bus) or walking where you can. You can drive in the snow if you know how to control the vehicle; you have traction on ice and snow, just not as much as on dry surfaces. As for worrying about the weather, those who are not prepared tend to be the ones in trouble. In your car keep a blanket or sleeping bag, some dried food, a flashlight with extra battery, chemical hand warmer packs. Being prepared for the worst is better than no preparation at all. -- Heir, US

Improved travel conditions give relief to snow-struck Germany

Have your holiday travel plans been affected by the snow?

So Brussels wants to add another layer of bureaucracy. That will most certainly be a big help! Instead, why not talk to Canadians, for example, who have a lot more experience with snowed-under airports. Always trying to re-invent the wheel when it is already invented. We better get used to harsh winters ... climate change! -- Vera, Germany

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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