Snow in Europe: Icy blizzards stall transport networks


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Media captionMotorists and pedestrians in Ukraine struggle with snow after heavy falls

Fresh heavy snowfalls lashing Europe have caused transport delays, with the deep freeze expected to continue.

The blizzard forced the cancellation of all flights at Dublin airport on Thursday and the temporary closure of Geneva airport in Switzerland.

Large parts of the Continent continue to shiver in the grip of a Siberian weather system that has brought the coldest temperatures for several years.

The cold snap has been given various nicknames in different countries.

In Britain it is “the Beast from the East” – with Storm Emma close behind – while the Dutch are calling it the “Siberian bear” and Swedes the “snow cannon”.

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Media captionHow to keep warm? Tips from cold countries

Flights in and out of Dublin airport have been suspended with service disruptions expected to continue until Saturday at the earliest. Ireland remains braced for what is predicted to be its heaviest snowfall in decades.

The airport in the Swiss city of Geneva was forced to shut down on Thursday morning but was later reopened after the runway was cleared using snow ploughs.

Icy blizzards across Europe have also seen trains cancelled and roads come to a standstill.

About 2,000 drivers were stranded on a motorway near the French city of Montpellier, with some complaining of being stuck for as long 24 hours.

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Media captionFive handy winter driving tips

Meanwhile, dozens of people have been reported dead across the continent – including 21 in Poland, according to AFP news agency. Many are believed to have been rough sleepers.

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Image caption Paris has now set up emergency shelters for its rough sleepers

Deaths were also reported in Britain and the Netherlands and as the cold spell spread as far south as the Mediterranean, casualties were reported in France, Spain and Italy, among others.

In the French capital, Paris, authorities set up emergency shelters for the city’s roughly 3,000 homeless. The beaches in Nice were blanketed in a thick layer of snow.

Meanwhile, people in Ukraine have been battling with snow-covered streets, with further snowstorms forecast in the days to come.

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Image caption A snow plough removes snow next to an EasyJet aircraft at Cointrin Airport in Geneva, Switzerland
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Image caption The Italian city of Florence is feeling the cold
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Image caption Sand dunes in La Teste-de-Buch, in normally balmy south-west France, have been partially covered in snow

But the weather has also brought opportunities for fun, including skating and sledding as well as skiing on city streets in Britain and France.

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Image caption Children play ice hockey with wooden sticks on an icy patch by the frozen shore of the Lake of Neuchatel, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

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Media captionBBC Weather explains why we have seen temperatures plummet


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