Russian Freeze to Spread Through Europe | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 20.01.2006
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Russian Freeze to Spread Through Europe

As the death toll in Russia's lethal deep freeze topped 70 on Friday, forecasters warned the cold snap would continue to spread through Europe. Germany is facing record cold temperatures starting next week.


The rest of Europe is about to get a taste of Russia's extreme cold

The latest deaths due to the severe weather in Russia brought to at least 71 the number of those who have died across the country since the start of the cold snap late Monday, including 16 in the capital, Moscow.

Russian weather forecasts predicted the continuation of bitter cold temperatures as low as minus 38 Celsius (minus 36 Fahrenheit) well into next week, with the Siberian anti-cyclone spreading west into Europe.

Kältewelle in Rußland, Moskau

Moscow's Red Square is nearly empty as severe cold grips the capital

Exports of Russian gas and electricity have been cut back to provide for increased domestic demand in what is Moscow's coldest spell in 26 years.

Germany facing record lows

The cold spell is already moving westwards, with Germany facing record minus temperatures at the start of next week.

"The trend points toward a pretty cold coming week in all of Germany," said Andreas Wagner of the meteorological service Meteomedia. "The cold air from Russia could spread throughout the whole country."

Parts of eastern Germany could experience temperatures as low as minus 20 Celsius starting on Sunday night.

Ukraine, Baltics suffering

On Friday, Ukraine was hit by arctic cold that sent people to hospital with frostbite, closed schools and mines, and was taxing the nation's electricity grid, officials said.

The Baltic countries were also feeling the icy effects, while Finland was facing a possible power shortage after Russia said the cold weather would force it to cut power deliveries to the Nordic country by 25 percent.

By late morning, power imports from Russia had dropped to 1,030 megawatts from the normal 1,300 megawatts, Fingrid, the company charge of Finland's national electricity system, said.

The Russian power cuts come at the worst possible time for Finland, where temperatures were forecast to drop to between minus 20 and minus 30 degrees Celsius on Friday and as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius in coming days.

Like many other European countries, Finland has already seen its gas supplies from Russia cut this week.

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