Snow wreaks travel chaos across Europe
Berlin, December 18, 2010
Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures caused travel chaos across northern Europe yesterday, with hundreds of German flights cancelled and icy roads wreaking havoc in Poland and the Netherlands ahead of Christmas.
A spokesman for Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said 400 of 1,400 scheduled flights had been cancelled at continental Europe’s busiest airport, even though Germany’s financial capital escaped the worst of the winter weather.
Another 100 flights were cancelled in Berlin, which was blanketed by a heavy cover of snow throughout the day, leaving city officials scrambling to clear roads and slowing traffic to a crawl, said a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
A fresh blast of snow threatened to throw Britain's roads and railways into disarray in the run-up to Christmas, as winter tightened its grip on the country for the second time this year.
December is likely to be the coldest since digital records began in 1910 if temperatures in the second half of the month are as low as they have been in the first, the met office said yesterday.
It issued a flash warning of severe weather for London and southeast England.
Motorists were warned to exercise caution on icy roads, and police in Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland told people to avoid non-essential travel.
The Automobile Association said call-outs were up by 50 per cent compared with an average Friday in the month, and the holiday traffic surge was set to make matters worse.
More snow is expected today, another band of heavy snow will move South, towards the Midlands and southern Wales, 5 cm to 10 cm in many places and up to 25 cm elsewhere.
Flights were suspended at Inverness, Exeter, City of Derry, Belfast City and Belfast international airports, while services on some train lines were cancelled or delayed.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry warned earlier that more bad weather could lead to 'very serious' shortages of domestic heating oil.
He told the House of Commons that higher demand along with delayed deliveries and soaring oil prices meant homes might have to wait four weeks for supplies.
But oil distributor Tate Oil urged people not to panic-buy.
Heavy overnight snowfall also disrupted air travel, forcing more than 800 flight cancellations and leading to major delays in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In Germany, more than 600 flights were cancelled, schools forced to close and highways clogged with traffic after scores of accidents that killed three people and injured dozens.
In the neighbouring Netherlands, Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport saw more than 100 cancellations and major delays. Dutch weather agency KNMI issued a 'weather alarm'
About 100 flights were cancelled in Switzerland. Geneva's airport was closed early morning, though it was opened again by noon. Flights were also disrupted in Zurich.
The Italian island of Capri, meanwhile, woke up to its first snowfall in 25 years. Cleaners in the chic tourist destination in the Gulf of Naples doused the streets with boiling water to melt the ice.
Snow also coated beaches on the neighbouring island of Ischia, whose thermal waters attract visitors all year round.
The women's World Cup super-G downhill skiing event in Val d'Isere, France, was called off. – TradeArabia News Service