Europe gripped by winter weather outbreak | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 12.03.2013
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Europe gripped by winter weather outbreak

A winter outbreak with freezing temperatures, winter storms with snow and ice are wreaking havoc across Europe. Frankfurt has shut down most of its runways and the Eurostar train service has been suspended.

Frankfurt International - Europe's third largest airport - announced it had partially re-opened its runways to arriving and departing flights early Tuesday evening. An overnight snowfall had forced airport officials to close down for most of the day.

The airport advised travelers to check with their airlines if they were scheduled to fly from Frankfurt.

Rail services connecting England to continental Europe have also been suspended due to heavy snow in France and Belgium.

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Snow chaos across Western Europe

"All Eurostar services are currently disrupted and are subject to severe delays," a statement on Eurostar’s website said. "Our advice to passengers is not to travel today and not to come to our stations."

Commuters in Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia woke up to heavy snowfall and icy roads on Tuesday. Police reported dozens of traffic accidents as road conditions deteriorated.

Northern Germany had witnessed over 30 centimeters (one foot) of snowfall since Monday morning. This follows unusually warm weather last week that saw temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of Germany.

Thousands of schoolchildren in Schleswig-Holstein had to stay at home as schools remained closed as the regional administration was unable to clear the streets of ice and snow. Motorways were closed to traffic and public transport collapsed for several hours.

The winter weather was forecast to reach southern Germany by Wednesday, extending snow down to the Alps in the south and east towards Poland and other parts of Europe.

According to Germany's meteorological institutes temperatures are likely to remain below freezing until the latter part of the week.

rg,mz/jlw (dpa, AFP, AP)

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