3 Dec 2010

Fatal freeze in northern Europe

6:02 am on 3 December 2010

A big freeze in northern Europe has claimed the lives of at least 13 people.

Temperatures have dropped to minus 26C in Poland on Thursday, where eight people died of exposure. Five others died in central Europe and two in Britain.

Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures have caused another day of disruption to transport networks.

The BBC reports 3000 railway passengers had to spend the night in trains in Germany when snow paralysed many high-speed inter-city routes.

Severe flight delays were reported at airports in Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Paris Orly.

Eurostar trains from France faced cancellations or delays while snowfalls trapped hundreds of motorists in Brittany and Normandy.

In Belgium, 650km of traffic jams were reported.

Snow also affected Britain, where Gatwick airport was closed and some rail services in the south were cut.

Cold air moving down from Siberia has contributed to the conditions.