16 Mar 2013

Roadside help, and armed to the teeth ....

9:27 pm on 16 March 2013

Hungary is sending snowbound motorists the ultimate in roadside assistance - Soviet T72 battle tanks.

Tanks have been deployed to reach motorists stuck for days in snowdrifts in Hungary as cold weather causes transport chaos across eastern Europe.

T-72 battle tanks trundled along icy roads, while thousands of people waited in cars on the M1 motorway from Budapest to Vienna.

Many had been stuck on the road since Thursday evening, the BBC reports.

A national holiday in Hungary on Friday meant many people were travelling when the extreme weather struck.

A series of accidents on the M1 trapped travellers as the snow built up around them.

On Friday afternoon, the interior ministry sent text messages to all mobile phone subscribers, telling people to stay in their cars as long as their fuel lasted, then move to other vehicles to stay warm.

Meteorological agencies had predicted the cold weather but the sheer number of people trapped in the snow appears to have overwhelmed disaster management services, the BBC reports.

In Bulgaria, a woman was killed when high winds brought down scaffolding in the town of Gabrovo.

Heavy snow paralysed parts of south-eastern Poland, where police were redirecting heavy lorries for fear they would get stuck

At least 19,000 households were left without power in eastern Slovakia after high winds damaged the grid and lorries backed up on a road

Melting snow caused flooding in Kosovo, with reports that a girl of 10 was drowned.