Europe shivers under sub-zero temperatures | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.01.2010
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Europe shivers under sub-zero temperatures

Europe has been struck by its worst bout of winter weather in decades, with much of the continent being blanketed by heavy snowfall. Countless flights have been cancelled and travel has been advised against.

Snow blankets a road in the UK

Snowfall has blanketed much of Europe

Heavy snowfall has continued to strike much of Europe, with hundreds of flights being canceled, highways backed up and thousands of homes without electricity.

In Germany, authorities have advised that people buy enough food and medicines to last for up to four days as a blizzard bears down on large swathes of the country.

two women sitting on their suitcases at an airport

Many Europeans have had to change their traveling plans

More than 200 flights from Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, were cancelled, and many German highways were clogged with crawling traffic due to heavy snowfall.

No cancellations were reported at Berlin's two main airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, though authorities there said many flights were suffering from delays. In the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, a plane reportedly slid of a runway, causing the airport there to close for two hours. No one was injured in the incident.

"What is being forecast for the weekend could lead to chaotic traffic conditions and potentially leave large parts of Germany completely paralyzed," the Autoclub Europa warned.

Despite the conditions, reinsurer Munich Re said it expected Germany and much of Europe to escape major damage from the heavy snowfalls.

"Although snow breakage and heavy icing are being predicted, record events ... are not to be expected," the reinsurer's weather experts predicted.

Stay at home

Traffic on a highway between Munich and Salzburg

Traffic has been backed up on several major arteries in Germany

Dozens of fatal car accidents have been reported around the continent as Europeans are being urged by their governments to avoid all non-essential travel.

The Eurostar train link between the UK and continental Europe has cut one-third of its services, while almost 30 major companies in Britain were ordered to stop using gas in an effort to manage current supply levels amid a surge in gas usage.

Several top-flight English football fixtures have been called off over the weekend due to impossible playing conditions.

In France, at least 7,000 homes have been experiencing electricity cuts, while authorities asked airlines to cut a quarter of all flights on Saturday at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

Authorities in Spain and Portugal reported freezing temperatures, and overnight stations were set up in Lisbon to house the homeless.

In Ireland, Dublin's main airport was forced to suspend all operations after fresh snowfall struck the Irish capital.

Polish authorities, meanwhile, said that as many as 25,000 homes were without electricity in the southern cities of Kielce and Katowice, while in Italy, up to 65,000 people were said to be without power as high winds toppled trees in the center of the country and around Rome.

dfm/AFP/Reuters

Editor: Toma Tasovac

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