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Snowstorm sweeps through Europe

March 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM

PARIS, March 12 (UPI) -- An unseasonable snowstorm swept through Europe early Tuesday grounding flights at Germany's largest airport and killing at least one person in northern France.

Weather forecasters called the snowstorm 10 days before the start of spring "remarkable for the season, as much for its quantity as for its length" Radio France Internationale reported.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault activated a crisis cell to coordinate efforts to deal with the storm that stranded thousands of motorists.

A 58-year-old homeless man found dead in the Brittany town of Saint-Brieuc apparently died from the cold, officials said.

Electricity was cut off to 43,000 households in Normandy and another 22,500 were reported without power in Britanny.

Residents of the Ile de France region surrounding Paris were advised not to go to the capital due to major disruptions of trains heading into the city.

Snow and ice grounded more than 150 flights in Frankfurt as the storm moved from the north of Germany to the south and west, The Local.de reported.

Domestic flights were hit the worst along with inter-European trips.

Passengers whose flights were canceled were not able to get refunds because snow qualifies as an "exceptional circumstance," airline officials said.

The storm forced the closing of roads and some schools in Frankfurt.

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