Europe

Icy weather in Europe causes more hardship and chaos

man rides his bike under heavy snow in the city centre of Ljubljana, Slovenia (13 January 2017) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hardly any cities in south-eastern Europe have escaped the snow, including the centre of Ljubljana in Slovenia

Much of Europe continues to be hit by icy weather with strong winds and powerful storms causing traffic chaos, power cuts and travel delays.

Electricity supplies to nearly 350,000 homes in France were temporarily cut, while severe flood warnings were in place on England's east coast.

As Germany prepares for more heavy snow, forecasters say the worst of the weather is heading eastwards.

Freezing conditions continue in the Balkans and Turkey.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the cold weather was responsible for countless road accidents and school closures in addition to cancelled flights.

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Image caption High seas battered England throughout much of Friday
Image copyright AP
Image caption There is concern that that migrants and the homeless will be unable to keep warm in the cold - these migrants in Serbia are carrying a wooden railway sleeper to use as firewood

It also warned about the impact of the cold weather on the homeless and migrants.

Officials are especially worried about the plight of these groups of people in Greece and Serbia.

Thousands of migrants in the Balkans live in tents with little heating.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, earlier said several migrants had died from cold and exhaustion in Bulgaria.

Freezing temperatures

Some countries are suffering some of the heaviest snowfall in many years, with the Danube river and Bosporus sea strait closed to shipping.

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Image caption The Netherlands like other European countries was blanketed by snow on Friday
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Image caption Not many diners in Venice were prepared to eat outside

"Montenegro, Serbia, the republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria were much colder than normal, with temperatures as low as -15C over five consecutive days," the WMO said.

"The surrounding countries - Italy, Greece, Turkey and Romania were 5 to 10C colder than normal for the time of year."

The Severe Weather Europe Facebook page has images of vehicles enveloped by snow in Hungary, cars abandoned on the side of the road because of freezing rain in Italy, treacherously high seas in the Faroe Islands and video of a powerful blizzard in the Swiss Alps.

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Image caption Residents of Nijmegen in the Netherlands are among many European householders affected

In France, where coastal winds reached 146km/h (90.5mph), a woman died when a tree was blown over near the Mediterranean resort of Nice.

Another woman in Albania was found dead outside her home in freezing conditions in the southern town of Saranda.

Drivers in Germany have been warned of treacherous conditions on some roads, because of snow and black ice. Three motorists have died in crashes in Bavaria.

Meanwhile, flood defences have been reinforced on Belgium's coast.

The cold snap across Europe has claimed more than 65 lives.

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