Extreme weather grips Europe

Feb. 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM
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LONDON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Winter weather conditions wreaked havoc across much of Europe Friday, with travel delays, school and public office closures and deaths, officials said.

Central and Eastern Europe got the worst of the recent weather, with heavy snow and subzero temperatures that have claimed about 540 lives, The Daily Telegraph reported. Temperatures were forecast to plunge to about minus-40 F in the mountains of the Czech Republic during the weekend, the British newspaper said.

About 70,000 people in Serbia were isolated by deep snow that has inundated the Balkans, forcing the use of helicopters to fly in food supplies. About 20,000 people in Romania, where snow up to 13 feet deep prevented travel, were dealing with dwindling food supplies, as well, the Telegraph said.

In Ukraine, the worst-affected country, about 140 people have died, while more than 3,000 people have been treated at hospitals for frost bite and hypothermia.

Ukrainian officials said more than 120 ships were trapped in the Kerch Strait because the waterway froze, CNN reported.

Parts of the Danube River were frozen across Europe, interrupting transport down the river.

The death toll in Poland was at 82, the Telegraph said.

In Italy, were 40 deaths have been recorded, schools and public offices were closed Friday while crews worked to plow roadways, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Traveling in England was hazardous Friday, the Telegraph reported.

Road accidents were reported across the country, with at least one fatality in Wales.

Flooding, caused by water pipes that burst in the extreme cold, was also reported across the country.

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