People walk along the ancient Colosseum blanketed by the snow in Rome on Monday.
(Photo Courtesy: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
“The Beast from East” Brings Heavy Snow in Europe, MET Depts Warn
In Croatia, about 1,000 soldiers joined in the clearing operations in the worst-affected areas.
The Arctic storm, dubbed the "Beast from the East", set record temperatures across much of Europe on Monday and brought a rare snowstorm to Rome, paralysing the city and giving its residents an unusual chance to ski, sled and build snowmen in its famous parks and piazzas.
Elsewhere, the storm set dangerously low temperatures: Meteorologists in Germany reported a record low for this winter of -27 C (-16.6 F) on the Zugspitze mountain in the Alps. Moscow, as well, recorded its coldest night this winter, with the mercury dipping to nearly -20 C (-4 F) on Sunday night.
Doctors in Britain warned that the already-stretched National Health Service may have trouble coping with extra patients affected by what meteorologists are forecasting will be days of cold and high winds.
The intense winter weather has been dubbed "The Beast from the East" by British tabloids, citing Siberia as the source of the frigid temperatures.
Rome's train, plane and bus services were crippled and Italy's civil protection agency even mobilised the army to help clear slush-covered streets, as a city used to mild winters was covered by a thick blanket of snow.
In Croatia, about 1,000 soldiers joined in the clearing operations in the worst-affected areas, where over 1.5 metres (some 5 feet) of snow was reported.
Rome saw just a few centimetres, inches, but it was enough to close schools. Parks that usually stay green through winter were blanketed with snow, giving eager Romans a rare opportunity to go sledding, snow-shoeing or skiing. Even the Circo Massimo became a hotspot for snowball fights, while Piazza Navona, with its famed Bernini fountains, turned into a snow-dusted winter wonderland.
Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) in East of England has issued a warning asking people to travel in the coming week only if it is essential and to "look after yourselves and those more vulnerable than you." Other agencies and MET department spokespersons have issued similar warnings all over Europe.
(With inputs from AP)
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