‘Beast From the East’ Winter Storm Hits Europe With Snow and High Winds

The Latest on cold weather and snow across Europe (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

Snow and high winds are hitting parts of Britain, leading to train cancellations and warnings of delays on the road and in the air in the coming days.

The intense winter weather has been dubbed “The Beast from the East” by the country’s tabloids, citing Siberia as the source of Britain’s misery.

Greater Anglia railways said it would limit service in anticipation of the frigid conditions, and Southeastern urged passengers to finish travel by 6 p.m. (1800 GMT; 1 p.m. EST) Monday to avoid disruption.

Forecasters say parts of Britain will feel colder than the Arctic Circle because of low temperatures and high winds.

Doctors are warning that the already-stretched National Health Service may have trouble coping with extra patients affected by the weather.

The Met Office forecasters predict accumulations of snow by Wednesday in eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


11:05 a.m.

The Arctic storm which has hit Europe descended on Romania and Bulgaria, leading to school closures and disrupting rail traffic, while thousands of emergency workers were mobilized.

Romania’s CFR railway company said 37 trains were suspended due to the frigid temperatures and dozens more were running late.

In Bucharest, where temperatures plunged to minus 8 Celsius (18 Fahrenheit) Monday, Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea announced schools would be closed in the capital for at least two days. Schools were also closed elsewhere in Romania.

The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations said it had called on 5,000 officials to help people with wintry weather.

Romanian officials warned about travel to neighboring Bulgaria, where there were snowdrifts of 40 centimeters (16 inches) and high winds in the Kardzhali and Smolyan provinces in the south and center of the country.


10:45 a.m.

Snow and freezing temperatures have a grasp on some parts of Germany as meteorologists reported a new record cold for this winter of minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16.6 Fahrenheit) on the Zugspitze mountain in the Alps.

The German Weather Service said Monday that the overnight temperatures were also low in the south and east of the country, where they went down to minus 15 degrees in parts. It was slightly warmer in the northeast, but traffic there came to a halt in some regions due to heavy snowfall.

The German news agency dpa reported that in the northern city of Bremen, at least 10 flights were canceled due to snow, and along the Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, several cars crashed on icy streets, injuring at least four people.


10:40 a.m.

The whole of Croatia has been gripped by freezing weather, with even towns along most of the Adriatic coast waking up to temperatures below freezing.

The spell of winter weather has closed schools in the northwest, and heavy vehicles have been banned from all roads leading toward the coast.

About 1,000 Croatian soldiers have joined efforts to clear the snow in the worst-affected areas where over 1.5 meters (some 5 feet) of snow have been reported.

Towns along the Adriatic coast have also been hit by strong winds which also hampered sea traffic toward the islands. Only the southern part of the coast recorded temperatures above zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) on Monday morning.


10:35 a.m.

Italy’s civil protection agency has decided to send in the army to clear snow-clogged streets in the capital after an Arctic storm paralyzed Rome with just a few centimeters (inches) of snow.

RAI state radio also announced that the civil protection agency was rounding up its volunteer corps Monday to help commuters stranded at train stations.

Rome rarely sees snow, and when it does, public transport grinds to a near halt. Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi ordered public schools closed, and many private ones followed suit.

Roman parks that usually stay green through winter were blanketed with snow, giving eager sledders rare snow runs. Even the Circo Massimo became a hotspot for snowball fights, while Piazza Navona, with its famed Bernini fountains, turned into a snow-dusted winter wonderland.


10:25 a.m.

Temperatures in Moscow have dropped to this winter’s low despite the approaching spring.

The Meteorological Office said on Monday the mercury in the Russian capital dropped to nearly minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday night, the coldest night this winter.

Meteorologists are forecasting unusually low temperatures for early March. Roman Vilfand, chief of the Russian Meteorological Office, told the Interfax news agency that Muscovites should brace themselves for frosty weather in early March and could only “count on the warmth of the soul,” not higher temperatures outside.

Moscow earlier this month saw what has been described as the strongest snowfall on record when more than a month’s average of snow fell on the city, turning streets and yards into snowdrifts.


9:20 a.m.

Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services.

Rome’s Mediterranean climate and proximity to the sea usually result in mild winters, such that restaurants often keep outdoor seating open even through the coldest months of the year. As a result, the Monday morning snowfall, though not huge in quantity, brought excited young Romans out for a rare snowball fight or walk in the slush.

Mayor Virginia Raggi signed an ordinance Sunday evening closing public schools as a precaution, and many private ones followed suit.

Elsewhere in much of northern and central Italy, the storm also closed schools and disrupted transport.

SOURCE: The Associated Press

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