03 February 2012

100 die in European deep freeze

Europe's Siberian freeze spread to France and Italy, with snow covering Corsica, Bologna and Milan, while the European death toll topped 100, officials said

UPI in Disaster News Network | February 2, 2012

An estimated 30 people in eastern and central Europe froze to death Wednesday in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine, officials said.

Ukraine's death toll Wednesday was 13 -- and topped 40 since the arctic cold started Friday, the Euronews channel reported.

Temperatures were so low in parts of Romania that parts of the Black Sea near the shoreline froze, the BBC reported.

Istanbul, Turkey, which rarely gets snow, got 20 inches and double-digit sub-zero temperatures Wednesday. The national flag carrier Turkish Airlines canceled at least 183 flights in and out of Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport, the official state Anadolu news agency reported.

Temperatures in Istanbul broke freezing Thursday and were expected to reach into the 40s F Friday.

Temperatures in northern Greece hovered above freezing.

Europe had enjoyed a relatively mild winter until Friday, when a Siberian cold front came in from the northeast, plunging temperatures to minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit and colder in some places.

Eastern and central Europe were hardest hit, but the chill spread south and west Wednesday.

Widespread snow in northern and central Italy disrupted travel. Trucks were banned from roads in several regions, including Tuscany. Dozens of airline flights, and even some soccer matches, were canceled, Euronews said.

Mountain roads on the French island of Corsica were shut by heavy snow and 50,000 customers lost power.

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