Deep freezing temperatures across Europe have caused dozens of deaths in Poland, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. Extreme cold, heavy snow and high winds have also caused the disruption to power, water supplies and transport networks.
Heavy snowfall has reached Istanbul, where Turkish Airlines grounded 650 flights. In Turkey’s biggest city, almost 65 (25 inches) of snow fell, and also caused disruption of ship traffic on the Bosphorus. Temperatures in Poland dropped below – 20 C on Saturday and the cold wave is expected to continue throughout the week.
Icy weather has hit Poland, and in some areas of the country, temperatures as low as – 30 C caused the deaths of more than 10 people.
Refugees from the Middle East and the homeless have been particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. In Greece and Italy, cold weather has claimed the lives of several refugees and migrants over the past week.
In Italy, the cold snap claimed two more lives: an 82-year-old man who died in a house without heating near the southern city of Brindisi and a 78-year-old man in a village in northern Sicily.
According to Russian media reports, Moscow has recorded the coldest Orthodox Christmas in 120 years, with temperatures below – 30 C.
Unusually cold weather caused major disruptions of road traffic in Italy, where heavy snow and high winds resulted in rerouted flights, delayed ferries and cancelled trains.
Due to icy conditions, ice has formed on major rivers such as the Danube, Sava and Tisza, causing the authorities in Serbia to ban all river traffic because of the conditions.
A similar cold snap in 2012 had paralyzed most of Europe, disrupted air and river traffic, and claimed the lives of more than 800 people.
Extreme cold weather is expected to continue across Central, Eastern and parts of Southern Europe.