Winter snow, floods arrive early in Europe
Snow has hit the south of France; Germany and Austria are seeing their first wintry weather. Venice is struggling with the worst floods in more than 50 years, while parts of northern England are also underwater.
Emergency declared in Venice
Italy's canal city is struggling to cope with the worst floods in more than 5 decades. Water levels remain elevated after reaching a peak of 187 centimeters (74 inches) on Tuesday night. Waters rose to knee-high level again around the iconic St Mark's Square on Friday morning. Residents are questioning why the city's Mose flood protection plan, drawn up decades ago, is still on the back burner.
Tourists grin and bear it
Authorities in Venice have installed platforms at key locations around the lagoon city to help tourists to cross without getting wet. Outside St Mark's Basilica, there's no option but to wade in the floodwaters. While many visitors are making the best of their trips, tourism officials say holidaymakers are canceling in their droves. Many damaged stores have stayed shut for the past 10 days.
France goes dark as heavy snow falls
Some 330,000 homes were left without power on Friday after the first major snows of winter hit southeast France. Traffic conditions were difficult in the Rhone-Alpes region, near Lyon. At one point, the A7 expressway was closed to heavy goods vehicles, leaving many trucks stranded. State railway company SNCF canceled all trains between Grenoble and Lyon after the tracks were blocked by snow.
Unusually white November
One man was killed when a tree fell on him as he tried to clear another fallen tree from a roadway near Grenoble. Heavy snow downed power lines in one Ardeche village causing two dozen residents to be evacuated from their homes. One meteorologist told French TV that snow in mid-November is unusual: "You'd have to go back very far in time to find a similar phenomenon."
Austria gets more than fair share
Although used to the snow, Austrians have witnessed several car accidents as a result of the heavy snowfall. Several roads were impassable due to stuck trucks and several rail services were disrupted by snow on the tracks. Some 10,000 homes in four states were left without electricity after trees fell on power cables. Some cables collapsed under the weight of the snow.
Schools and roads closed in the Alps
In parts of the Alpine region, schools and roads were closed while several people were injured in avalanches. Firefighters had to rescue two people near Salzburg who were trapped under the snow after their houses were destroyed in a mudslide. Even in the Alps, the weather has been extreme and over 2,000 homes were without power,
Not all doom and gloom
The first snow of winter has arrived on the highest mountain in Germany's Black Forest. A few centimeters were reported on the Feldberg peak in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, prompting a flurry of activity by snowplows. Several families took advantage of the white covering to go sledding, especially as forecasters said the ice was likely to melt quickly.
The long winter begins
Further north, the Brocken — the highest peak in Harz National Park —which lies on the borders of the northeastern states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony, also saw its first winter snowfall. The area is well-known for its long winters, with several months of continuous snow cover.
English farms, shopping malls deluged
Several counties in northern England have seen early winter flooding after a month's worth of rain struck over two days. A woman died after she was swept away in a river in Derbyshire, while dozens of families were evacuated from their homes in neighboring South Yorkshire. Dozens were stranded in two shopping malls and some had to be rescued by firefighters in inflatable dinghies.
More flooding expected
On Friday, British authorities issued 250 flood warnings for a much wider area of the UK, including southern England and parts of Wales. The floods have even become an election issue, ahead of next month's vote. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has been accused of not doing enough to help those affected.