Blizzards swept parts of Eastern Europe Friday, closing roads and causing traffic accidents, delaying flights and leading to medical evacuations, and causing dozens of trains to be canceled.
In Romania, one of the worst affected areas, authorities said main highways in the south and east were made impassable because of the heavy snow. More than 40 trains were not running because of snow on the track.
Senior emergency situations official Raed Arafat said authorities evacuated 622 people who needed dialysis and 126 pregnant women.
Snow 2 meters high
Serbia’s state television reported that 17 people, including six children, were injured in a pileup caused by the wintry weather on the outskirts of the southern city of Nis.
Heavy snow and strong winds disrupted traffic in southern Serbia and snow piled up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) high, closing several roads. Local official Dragan Dimitrijevic said emergency crews were “helpless against the wind.”
“New piles form almost immediately after we clear up,” he said.
Flights were delayed by up to an hour at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda airport by the blizzard, which began overnight.
Freezing on Croatian coast
In Croatia, the temperatures dipped below freezing even along the country’s Adriatic coast where high winds halted some ferry traffic to the islands and over the bridges along the coastline.
In Montenegro, bad weather caused traffic delays and authorities urged people to stay indoors. Villages were virtually cut off in the worst-hit northern part of the country.
Elsewhere, temperatures in Germany plunged as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) overnight, after storm “Axel” sucked in icy air from the Arctic.