Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wintry conditions are causing widespread disruption across parts of northwestern Europe over the past two days. Heavy snow as well as sub-zero temperatures have resulted in cancellations of hundreds of flights and caused traffic disruptions on major roads.

Many hundreds of passengers became stranded at Frankfurt Airport in Germany on Tuesday night as the airport closed, with many more flights cancelled yesterday. Tuesday in Paris, at the Charles de Gaulle Airport a quarter of the flights were cancelled. At Orly Airport a landing Tunisair slid, prompting evacuation of 140 passengers.

The Eurostar train service which connects London, United Kingdom with Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium was suspended after heavy snow. Many drivers stayed in their cars overnight in south Britain.

Maria Fanucchi from the Montmartre area of Paris said, “It was a winter wonderland for a day (yesterday [Tuesday]), but now it’s melting very fast. The streets are full of a dirty, slushy mix of black snow and water […] [my] trip to The Hague was canceled because the bus company didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the snow.”

Randy Tahtouh of Berlin said, “it snowed more then usual this year, well the public transport were not functioning properly and some roads were jammed”, and “in Friedrichsfelde, there was about 4 inches of snow.”

Helena Kristiansson from Brussels said she was stuck on a road for nine hours in 65 kilometers of queues; she tweeted, “Stuck at a road for Brussels closed since 5pm yesterday due to shoulder deep snow.. Really France? Really? #FML #fb”.

Belgium had over 1,600 kilometers of traffic jams during the Tuesday morning rush hour, reported the Touring breakdown assistance association, as lying snow on roads made driving difficult. The Belgian Pensions Minister Alexander De Croo struggled to attend the cabinet budget meeting as the snow hit. He said, “The budget won’t be simple, but just getting into Brussels to get started is a task of a different order altogether”.

Guernsey Airport, one of the major airports in the Channel Islands, opened on time this morning after heavy snow and ice caused the airport to close for a time yesterday.

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