Winter spreads chaos in europe: over 250 dead

Winter spreads chaos in europe: over 250 dead

Traffic collapsed in belgrade, rome and other cities, people trapped in tunnels after avalanches. The number of deaths from the cold has risen to more than 250 across europe since the onset of winter a week ago. The cold wave even reached north africa. In germany and elsewhere, saturday night was the coldest night of the winter so far. No end to the frost in sight. New snow is on the way.

The lowest value in germany was recorded by the meteomedia weather service at the 1600 meter high funtensee in the berchtesgaden national park with minus 36.4 degrees. The coldest place in the measuring network of the german weather service (DWD) was the bavarian town of oberstdorf, with minus 27.3 degrees. Temperatures are expected to remain below zero until at least the next weekend, even during the daytime. "The cold air can’t go away," said DWD meteorologist thomas ruppert on saturday. The reason for this is a high-pressure bridge that has formed between the russian cold high "dieter" and the azores high over the atlantic to the west. Mild air therefore has no chance of reaching germany.

In serbia, a state of emergency has already been declared in almost 30 municipalities. All elementary and middle schools and kindergartens to remain closed this week. With the capital also mired in traffic chaos, the government appealed to all citizens for help. On saturday morning, hundreds of people came forward to help clear the tunnel. In letters to newspapers and television stations, citizens complained that the authorities were completely inadequately prepared for the snow and that even the transit roads were impassable.

Snow trapped about 90 people in a road tunnel in montenegro for 24 hours. It was not until noon on saturday that the authorities in the capital podgorica were able to report that the victims – among them many children – had been freed. According to the media, the two presidents of croatia and serbia, ivo josipovic and boris tadic, were also trapped in the snow in the mountains outside sarajevo. In bosnia, the handball team of the serbian first division club hemofarm also had to wait out a whole day in a tunnel 20 kilometers from the town of mostar, because avalanches had buried the access road.

After the unusual cold wave with 30 centimeters of snow on the southern croatian adriatic, a state of emergency was declared in dalmatia, as reported by the state television in zagreb. Traffic collapsed in the major port city of split. Gale-force winds of 205 kilometers per hour were measured on the bridge between the port city of rijeka and the island of krk. In the countries around the adriatic sea soldiers fought against the snow.

The heaviest snowfall in decades caused traffic chaos in rome. According to media reports, buses did not move forward, rescue teams arrived too late. "Rome closed due to snowfall," wrote "il messaggero" about the traffic chaos the night before. Mayor gianni alemanno rejects criticism of lack of preparation: it had last snowed so heavily in rome in 1985.

In the states of eastern and southern europe, which are particularly affected by the extreme cold, dozens of people again suffered cold deaths. In ukraine at least 21 people froze to death. The number of cold-related deaths rose to 122 this winter, according to the government.

In poland, seven people froze to death again, according to the ministry of the interior. This brings the number of cold deaths there since the start of the frost wave to 45. In addition, six victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Four homeless people also died in fires on saturday night.

In romania, according to the government, another four people froze to death within 24 hours – bringing the total to 28 since the start of the extreme frost a week ago. A second cold victim was reported from france on saturday. In germany, two skaters broke into the ice – one was recovered dead, the other was still missing on saturday.

A barge rammed into a harbor embankment in a snowstorm in civitavecchia, northwest of rome, and was severely damaged. The ship with more than 300 passengers and crew on board was evacuated, ansa news agency reported. Rail traffic was disrupted in belgium and switzerland; at london’s heathrow airport, one in three flights was cancelled on sunday.

In north africa, real snow fell in higher elevations of the algerian capital algiers on saturday night for the first time in years. Numerous children, who had never seen female flakes before, fell down enthusiastically, according to eyewitnesses.

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