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Snow Over the United Kingdom and Ireland – December 19th, 2010

51.6N 3.3W

December 19th, 2010 Category: Image of the day

United Kingdom and Ireland - December 18th, 2010

Close-up

Blizzards and freezing temperatures shut down runways, train tracks and highways across Europe on Saturday, disrupting flights and leaving shivering drivers stranded on roadsides. Airports in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark reported cancelations or delays to flights.

This image focuses on the United Kingdom and Ireland. Although large parts of the UK are covered in clouds, snow can still be seen coating the ground in Wales, southern England and Northern Ireland. Southeastern Ireland is the only visible land area that is free of snow. In the full images, snow can also be seen over France, below, and Belgium and Netherlands, right.

Hundreds of motorists were left stranded on a major road in northwestern England following a deluge, prompting police patrols to offer food and water to drivers. In Italy, the Autostrada of the Sun — the country’s main north-south highway — was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, whose chilly occupants slept in their cars, vans or trucks.

The snowfall also forced high-speed trains to bypass Florence’s central Santa Maria Novella station, stopping in suburban stations instead.

Paris was sprinkled with a light coat of snow overnight, and more snow was predicted Saturday, leading civil aviation authorities to cancel 15 percent of flights at Charles de Gaulle airport. Many flights were also canceled in northeastern France, where snow already blanketed the ground, and services were also canceled at the airports in the cities of Nantes and Rennes.

Significant numbers of domestic and European flights were canceled at Germany’s Frankfurt airport as it dealt with the disruption. Germany’s railway operator Deutsche Bahn said it was pressing into service all the trains it could — though some journeys were subject to delays.

The icy weather also swept over large parts of Scandinavia, causing problems particularly in Denmark, where dozens of flights were canceled at the airport in Copenhagen. Train traffic between Denmark and southern Sweden was also disrupted because of track problems, partly due to the snow, forcing passengers to instead take buses between the two countries.

In Sweden, where media reports suggest the country is experiencing the coldest winter weather this early on in the season since the mid-1800’s, several road accidents were reported, with more than 20 in the Stockholm area alone.

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