Wintery weather affect travel
A blast of harsh winter weather socked Europe early this morning, causing travel chaos and sending temperatures into a deep-freeze.
From Northern Ireland to Bulgaria, blizzard conditions left airports with heavy delays or shut them entirely on Friday, and many delays and cancellations continued into today.
At London’s Heathrow Airport, snow caused the cancellation of many short-haul flights, sparking a domino-effect of delays when passenger aircraft were unable to get to gates. Hundreds of passengers who did manage to land were still unable to claim their luggage after baggage-handlers ended their shifts.
Ireland braced for an icey day as the Irish Meteorological Service, Met Eireann, forecast widespread frost, ice and freezing fog for the morning, and some sleet and snow showers for later in the day. Temperatures were expected to drop down to between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius below zero (between 18 degrees and 25 degrees Fahrenheit) Saturday night.
Northern Ireland was blanketed at the end of this week with its worst snowfall in 25 years.
The government issued emergency snow warnings Friday night.
Airport personnel were working this morning to de-ice airplanes and resume full operations at many airports. The relentless weather caused approximately 250 flights to be cancelled and thousands of passengers stranded at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Friday.
Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that two people had died because of the bad weather — a truck driver who was killed in a car accident and a man who died of a heart attack while cleaning up snow outside his house. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in Florence, Italy, after snow and ice stopped high-speed trains from entering the city’s train station, the agency said.
Meteorologists say the cold weather is caused by a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, which means that cold Arctic air is flowing into southern latitudes that are normally much warmer.
Forecasters don’t expect conditions to change anytime soon. The next wave of snowy weather is expected to bring up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) to some parts of the U.K., with London expected to receive 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) of snow.
The weather system is expected to move across France and Germany tonight night and Sunday. Below-normal temperatures are expected to continue in northern Europe into the beginning of next week. (CNN)