Corsica hit by European winter spell

Feb. 11, 2012 at 5:53 PM   |   0 comments

LONDON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- All flights to northern Corsica were canceled Saturday as the Mediterranean island known for its mild winters was hit by icy weather.

About 600 homes were without electricty as islanders trying to stay warm caused a surge in demand, Radio France Internationale reported.

An unusual burst of cold and snowy weather has now killed more than 600 people across Europe, mostly in eastern countries. RFI said the death toll in France hit 14 when a couple in their 60s died of hypothermia after a boating accident Friday.

In Britain, temperatures fell below zero early Saturday and were expected drop even lower throughout the day, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"Overnight we have had the coldest temperatures this winter so far," said Claire Allen, a forecaster for MeteoGroup. "Motorists are going to have to be extra cautious in areas where there is still snow remaining as it will be frozen making the roads very icy and slippery."

Hundreds of miles of Europe's Danube River have frozen over, halting transport and shipping, The Independent reported.

Some 224 vessels have head to port in Bulgaria, where authorities have also banned navigation on the river. The river is completely frozen in Romania.

"We need a slow thaw of around 5 C [41 F] so that the snow melts slowly and causes no bigger problems," said Aleksandar Prodanovic, a Serbian flood control expert.

Snow fell across much of central and southern Italy Friday, cutting off a number of remote towns, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

"There is heavy snow from Emilia Romagna down to the northern part of Calabria," said Paola Pagliara of the Civil Protection Department. "The snow will continue and intensify in all the regions affected."

On Friday, schools and other public offices were closed because of the amount of snow received.

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