Deep freeze hits European flights, roads

Deep freeze hits European flights, roads


Weather
Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 13cm of snow over a three-hour period.

Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 13cm of snow over a three-hour period.

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

Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 13cm of snow over a three-hour period early on Thursday.

The airport's website says 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. The fatalities include a man in his 60s who was pronounced dead after being pulled from a frozen lake in London on Wednesday.

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

About 2000 cars were blocked on highways in the Herault region of southern France, where snow - and snowploughs - are extremely rare.

The snow storm began just after midnight, growing in intensity by dawn, and showed no sign of abating.

The Swiss weather office said Geneva's region was under a level three warning for snowfall and considerable danger, adding it was "very overcast with frequent sleet and temperatures ranging between -4C and 0C.

The result has been a large accumulation of snow on roads, railways, and tramlines.

Geneva's City Hall has instructed shelters to remain open all day to avoid the homeless population remaining outside in the snow.

Australian Associated Press

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