Freezing weather in mainland Europe causes deaths and delays

The fountains in St Peter’s Square, Vatican froze overnight and dripped icicles instead

Fountains frozen in Rome, Italian towns covered in snow and a beach unfit for sun bathing in Greece, as a freezing cold front makes it way across Europe.

 

Heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures have swept parts of mainland Europe, causing more than a dozen deaths, grounding planes and halting ferries in Italy and Turkey.

At least 10 people have died in the cold snap that hit Poland in recent days, authorities said.

Temperatures in Poland dropped below -20 degrees celsius on Saturday, and weather forecasters said they would sink more.

A man also died on Saturday in Belgium when his truck slid off a highway.

In Italy, sub-freezing temperatures were blamed for the deaths of half a dozen homeless people.

Heavy snow and high winds resulted in re-routed flights, delayed ferries, cancelled trains and closed roads, media reported.

Some schools in southern Italy were ordered not to open on Monday because a metre of snow had already buried some areas, the ANSA news agency reported.

The fountains in St Peter’s Square in Vatican city froze overnight and dripped icicles instead.

Temperatures dropped to - 7 degrees in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, and -10 degrees was expected on Sunday, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Several Greek islands were blanketed in snow. Roads were closed temporarily across large swathes of northern Greece due to snow and ice.

Heavy snow also hit Istanbul, and national carrier Turkish Airlines cancelled more than 650 flights.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that even the Bosporus Strait was closed and ferry service halted.

In northern Europe, where residents are accustomed to sub-zero temperatures and snowy winters, police in Denmark warned about icy and slippery roads after dozens of minor traffic accidents.

Temperatures in Latvia were forecast to drop to -30C late on Saturday, the Baltic News Agency said.

AP