A man walks past an ice-covered car on the frozen waterside promenade at Lake Geneva in the city of Versoix, Switzerland, on Saturday.SD-Agencies
The death toll from the vicious cold snap across Europe has risen to more than 260, with the winter misery set to hit thousands of those seeking to escape it yesterday as air traffic was hit.
Ukraine has suffered the heaviest toll with 122 deaths, including many who froze to death in the streets as temperatures plunged to as low as minus 38.1 degrees Celsius.
London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest air passenger hub, canceled 30 percent of its flights yesterday to cope with heavy snowfall overnight and possible freezing fog.
Heathrow said up to 10 centimeters of snow were expected to fall, which could affect around 400 flights at the world’s busiest airport for international passengers.
In the Netherlands, Amsterdam-Schiphol airport reported dozens of delays and cancellations Saturday.
In Italy, the poor weather also hit boat passengers, when the ferry Sharden hit a breakwater shortly after setting off from the port of Civitavecchia near Rome on Saturday. The heaviest snowfall in 27 years in Rome caused the capital, better known for its warm sunshine, to grind to a halt with taxis and buses unable to navigate through the icy streets without snow chains.
In Poland, the death toll rose to 45 as temperatures reached minus 27 degrees Celsius in the northeast. In Romania, four more victims were found, bringing the number of fatalities in the country to 28.
The cold snap has also killed people in Bosnia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, France, Austria and Greece.
Frigid temperatures even edged into North Africa, with the temperature forecast to drop below freezing in Algiers on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Chinese National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued a blue alert for the cold spell yesterday, the lowest level in the country’s four-scale alert system.
A cold wave is expected to sweep China nationwide today and tomorrow. Temperatures will drop by 6 to 8 degrees Celsius in central and eastern China, said the NMC.
Also yesterday, almost 600 people were rescued from an area buffeted by a snow storm in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.(SD-Agencies)