Blizzards and icy weather continue their grip on Europe

Heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures continue to sweep across Europe - causing more than a dozen deaths, grounding airplanes and crippling ferries in Italy and Turkey. At least 10 people have died of the cold in Poland in the past few days, including seven men aged between 41 and 66. In Belgium, one man died on Saturday when his lorry slid off the highway. In Italy, sub-freezing temperatures were blamed on the deaths of a half-dozen homeless people, while heavy snows and high winds resulted in re-routed flights, delayed ferries, cancelled trains and closed roads. Serbia’s state television reported that 22 people, including children, were injured in a pileup caused by the wintry weather on the outskirts of the southern city of Nis.

Emergency crews are helpless against the wind and snow drifts…new piles form almost immediately after we clear up.

Local Serbian official Dragan Dimitrijevic

Heavy snow crippled Istanbul and national carrier Turkish Airlines cancelled more than 650 flights. The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that even the Bosphorus Strait running through Turkey’s largest city was closed with ferries being halted. One of the main highways in Istanbul turned into a car park after drivers deserted their cars to walk home rather than battle the gusting snow and slippery roads. Britain however, bypassed the cold and snow, sporting temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday.