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Big Chill continues to cause chaos in Europe

January 6, 2010 12:52am
Hundreds of schools were shut, and travellers faced air, rail and road delays as snow and icy weather swept Europe Tuesday.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a driver was killed when two trucks collided on a highway near Manchester in northwest England, and scores of accidents were reported on icy roads. Automobile support service RAC said it was dealing with 1,400 incidents an hour.

Up to 12 inches (30 cm) of snow was forecast in some parts of the United Kingdom as the bad weather moved south from Scotland.

Schools were closed across Scotland and northern England, and train services between London and the north were disrupted.

All flights were cancelled to and from Manchester Airport in northwest England for several hours after snow closed the runway, and delays and cancellations hit airports including Liverpool's John Lennon airport, Leeds/Bradford airport in northern England and London's Luton and Gatwick.

Temperatures were just below freezing in most areas, falling as low as -10 C (14 F) in northern Scotland.

Weather service the Met Office said snow would reach as far south as London, with unusually cold weather expected to continue for the next two weeks. The office said Britain was experiencing its longest cold snap since 1981.

Germany

Germany also continued to suffer from severe winter weather on Tuesday, with icy temperatures and snow affecting most part of the country.

In the northern city of Hannover, firefighters removed giant icicles from roofs and window ledges to protect people walking below.

People in Munich were out braving the cold at a traditional market on Tuesday, but many sounded upbeat about the freezing temperatures. "The weather suits this time of the year. It's good," said one woman.

In the area around Kassel, salting trucks were out in force to clear ice and snow from the roads.

Planes had to be defrosted at Duesseldorf airport, but there were no reports of any major flight traffic disruptions, German broadcaster RTL reported.

Temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) are expected over the next few nights, according to meteorologists from the German Weather Service, RTL said.

New snowfalls are expected until the end of the week.

Poland

Poor weather in Poland was also impairing travel as flights were halted and streets were snowed under.

At Wroclaw airport flights were delayed because of the fog and strong frost caused navigation difficulties in the Vistula River near Plock.

In recent days icebreakers have been waiting to flow on the river to break the ice, but temperatures have not been high enough for that to happen. – AP
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