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Dublin: 16°C Thursday 19 May 2022

Chaos on the continent as heavy snow and freezing conditions leave thousands stranded

Airports, schools and roads were closed as Europe was hit hard by the adverse weather.

National Postal Workers Day The UK was battered by snow in recent days Source: Andrew Milligan/PA Images

HIGH WINDS AND heavy snow in Europe yesterday stranded thousands of travellers, kept school children at home and even played havoc with international diplomacy.

It was the second day running of fierce weather across the continent, with Britain still digging out from its deepest snowfall in four years.

The snowed-over runways in Brussels led to about 300 flight cancellations yesterday — with Brussels airport saying the number amounted to half of those scheduled — and some 100 delays, including for the plane carrying Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back home.

Traffic jam due to ice on motorway A40 Traffic jam in Muelheim, Germany Source: Roland Weihrauch DPA/PA Images

He tweeted a video from his plane that opened with a shot of the white tarmac at the close of his European visit, which was marked by the US recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A scheduled meeting between Netanyahu and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had to be called off because of the weather, officials said.

Brussels airport officials advised passengers to stay away, as staff were trying to de-ice planes and clear snow from the runways.

BELGIUM-BRUSSELS-WEATHER-SNOW Man cycling in Brussels Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

“Heavy snowfall: do not come to the airport until further notice,” the airport said on Twitter, adding that passengers should check the status of their flights.

Schiphol airport, just outside Amsterdam, had cancelled more than 400 flights by early afternoon, while many others faced long delays.

Eindhoven airport, the Netherlands’ second biggest, said just after midday that “due to wintry weather conditions, the runway is currently closed”.

But it was not just knee-high snow that was causing trouble, with winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour forecast along France’s Atlantic Coast.

About 50,000 homes were still without power in France yesterday evening as storms that caused a ferry to run aground in Calais on Sunday continued to sweep the centre and west of the country. At the height of the storm some 120,000 households were without electricity.

Winter Weather in Amsterdam A woman pushes her bike in Rembrandt Park in Amsterdam Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Brutal winds shut down ferry services between the southern Spanish port of Algeciras and Tangiers in Morocco, while also shuttering some schools in southern Spain.

Flights into and out of Nice airport were not expected to restart until early Tuesday at the earliest due to excessive amounts of snow.

Hundreds of schools closed

At the same time, Britain was recovering after heavy snow brought freezing temperatures, prompting the closure of hundreds of schools and disrupting flights for a second day.

Winter weather Dec 11th 2017 Snow on the coast at Whitley Bay, in north-east England Source: Owen Humphreys/PA Images

Power was restored to more than 100,000 homes, while airports tried to recover their schedules following this winter’s first major snowfall – the biggest in four years.

The last time Britain saw this much heavy snow nationwide was in March 2013.

Newspapers were filled with pictures of people either enjoying the snow or stuck in gridlock on the roads.

About 12.5 inches of snow fell in Sennybridge in south Wales on Sunday.

And temperatures overnight dropped to -11.6 degrees in Northumberland, north-east England.

Winter weather Dec 11th 2017 A snow covered hill near Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire Source: Steve Parsons/PA Images

The Western Power Distribution network said it had restored power to more than 99,500 customers, while a further 7,000 were still without electricity, largely in west-central England.

But disruptions continued on the roads and at airports.

London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport by passenger numbers, said it was still experiencing problems.

Winter weather Dec 11th 2017 Snowy conditions in Danbury, Essex. Source: Gareth Fuller/PA Images

“Some flights at Heathrow will be disrupted on Monday due to crew and aircraft being out of position following yesterday’s weather,” it said.

We’re working with our airline partners to return aircraft to where they need to be, and full service recovery remains the focus.

Hundreds of schools were closed in western England and north Wales, while much of the country was on a yellow weather warning for snow and ice.

All local authority-run schools in the central city of Birmingham were also shut.

Elsewhere in Europe, a woman in her forties was killed after a tree fell on her car during high winds, and three others were injured.

In Germany, more than 300 flights were cancelled in Frankfurt due to the high levels of snow.

© AFP 2017

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