More than 40 dead as cold wave hits Europe
Jan 30, 2012, 17:35 GMT
Berlin - The coldest weather Europe has seen in years is set to continue this week across the continent, weather reports said Monday, as extreme temperatures from the Balkans to Moscow killed more than 40 people, many of them at the weekend.
In the Balkan state of Serbia the death toll was thought to be five, with temperatures as low as -21 degrees Celsius in the town of Kragujevac, 120 kilometres south of Belgrade.
A state of emergency was in effect in 14 municipalities still combating the effects of a massive snowstorm that deposited a thick layer of now-frozen snow. Several remote villages were left without electricity for days, local reports said.
At least four deaths were reported in Bulgaria, with towns across the country reporting the coldest weather in decades.
In Romania, which reached -27 Celsius in the Carpathian mountains - still far off the -38.4-Celsius record from 1985 - the government urged municipalities to keep shelters for the homeless open, after two people froze to death.
In the Baltics, at least four people died, with three dead in Latvia as temperatures dropped to -20 Celsius. Lithuania reported the death of one person because of the cold, while a homeless person had to have a leg amputated due to the freezing weather.
In Poland, 10 people died at the weekend, officials said Monday. Police were patrolling areas where the homeless might be found and urged people to call them if they saw a homeless person who had been outside for long.
Poland on Monday saw its frostiest morning this winter, with -27 Celsius reported in the village of Stuposiany, in the south-east.
In Moscow, 15 people froze to death at the weekend, some because of exposure while intoxicated, city hall officials said. Overnight temperatures were -23 Celsius.
All schools in Russia's central Siberian Khanty-Mantaisky region were closed because of daytime temperatures of -30 Celsius.
Heavy snowfall in Russia's Kuban region, in the foothills of the Caucasian Mountains, left 17,800 people without power and closed airports and major highways. Overnight snow accumulation was 35 centimetres at some locations.
An even colder wave is expected across Europe in the coming days.
The Baltics are set to experience temperatures of -30 Celsius at night, with the authorities there warning residences not to leave their homes if possible.
Severe winter weather bringing lower-than-average temperatures and heavy snow was likely to remain in European Russia through Friday, a statement from the Russian weather service Gidromedtsentr said.