Arctic blasts paralyses transport systems across Europe

Arctic blasts paralyses transport systems across Europe
The fire brigade of Airport Security Services (SSA) rides snowplows removing snow on the runway during at the Geneva Airport, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Exceptional snow and wind has forced airports to close in Switzerland and France and stranded several hundred drivers in their cars as a Siberian cold snap stretches across Europe.

Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 5in of snow over a three-hour period in the early morning.

The airport's website said passengers should stay away for the time being and check with their airlines to see if their flights are still scheduled. Airport spokesman Sebastien Leprat said tricky weather conditions across Europe could cause extended delays.

Several deaths have been attributed to the unusually cold late-winter weather across Europe.

Airports in the southern French cities of Montpellier and the Atlantic beach resort of Biarritz were also affected by the bad weather.

Ice floats on the river Oder which is the border of Germany and Poland when the sun rises in Frankfurt. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)
Ice floats on the river Oder which is the border of Germany and Poland when the sun rises in Frankfurt. (Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

About 2,000 cars were blocked on highways in the Herault region of southern France, where snow - and snowploughs - are extremely rare.

Snow blanketed Paris and the surrounding region, and authorities urged Paris commuters to leave their cars at home because of dangerous conditions.

Venice's St. Mark's Square. (Lumina Film Bauer Palace via AP)
Venice's St. Mark's Square. (Lumina Film Bauer Palace via AP)

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