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Big Chill and Snowfall Over Europe – January 11th, 2010

51.4N 2.1W

January 11th, 2010 Category: Image of the day

UK and France - January 8th, 2010

UK and France - January 8th, 2010

Closeup of UK - January 8th, 2010

Closeup of UK

Europe has been experiencing unusually cold weather since late December. The current big chill is a result of high pressure over the polar region, which has pushed cold air out of the Arctic towards much of northern Europe, parts of Asia and the US. Winds from the north and north east, rather than the south and south west, have brought freezing temperatures to the UK. Provisional Met Office figures for December show temperatures for much of the UK were 1.5C and 2.5C below the mean temperatures for the last 30 years. Scotland saw temperatures dip still lower – from 2.5C to 3.5C. Last week, temperatures in Scotland plunged to -22.3C in places.

The icy weather gripping parts of Europe has disrupted flights at airports in the UK, France, the Irish Republic and the Netherlands. Many flights were delayed or cancelled at Orly airport in Paris, Dublin airport and Amsterdam-Schiphol, as well as major UK airports. The main image shows the snow-covered terrain of the United Kingdom, Ireland, northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The close-up focuses on the United Kingdom and Ireland. In southern England, some 4,000 people were left without electricity after snow brought down power lines. In the Irish Republic, all roads into Dublin are extremely icy and hundreds of Irish schools have closed, the Irish Times reports.

A Eurostar train was stuck for about two hours in the Channel Tunnel on Thursday. It later reached the UK. Four other Eurostar trains were cancelled, a company spokesman said. Last month the Eurostar service was suspended for three days after several trains broke down in the tunnel. Powdery snow getting into the engines was identified as the cause.

Many parts of Germany saw temperatures fall below -10C on Thursday, the Deutsche Welle news website reports. In Germany, at least nine homeless men aged from 42 to 62 froze to death. In the North Rhine-Westphalia region two derailments in as many days have caused havoc with the rail timetable, triggering cancellations and delays.

Icy roads have disrupted road freight deliveries to France’s Channel ports. Snow is blanketing a large swathe of France, reaching as far south as Bordeaux. Heavy snow caused big traffic jams around Amsterdam and Haarlem on Wednesday evening, Radio Netherlands reports. Few buses were running in the affected areas. In Austria, the authorities are on standby amid forecasts of heavy snow in the coming days in low-lying parts of the country. In Poland, the winter death toll has reached 122 – most of the victims reportedly homeless people. The cold snap is also affecting Scandinavian countries. In Hemavan, in the far north of Sweden, a new winter low of -40.8C (-41.4F) was recorded overnight, Radio Sweden reports.The Arctic freeze has also seen temperatures in central Sweden plummet to between -30 and -40C – the coldest weather since the mid-1980s. In Norway, temperatures plummeted to -40C in some areas. The capital Oslo ran a reduced bus service because engine oil had frozen.

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