UK, Ireland in grip of 'Beast from the East'

by Susie Olson March 3, 2018, 0:31
UK, Ireland in grip of 'Beast from the East'

The cold spell, nicknamed "the Beast from the East" in the United Kingdom, is carrying freezing winds across the continent, and temperatures as low as -30°C.

In the northern city of Turin, heavy snow had on Sunday forced the postponement of a Serie A football game between Juventus and Atalanta.

"Parts of England and Wales are likely to see their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013 - perhaps 1991", said the Met Office's chief forecaster Frank Saunders.

"It could even be the difference between life and death". Police have appealed to the public to assist the infirm - or the intoxicated - who have fallen in the snow.

In Slovenia, the motorway connecting capital Ljubljana and the port of Koper was closed near the coast due to the infamous "bora" winter wind that has been blowing with speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour).

Roads were blocked, dozens of flight cancelled or delayed, and schools stayed shut in most European cities and towns.

Yet thousands of kilometres south, temperate Rome woke to its first snowfall in six years on Monday thanks to the Polar Vortex.

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Russian Federation itself was not spared, with its meteorological service warning of "abnormally cold" temperatures until Wednesday and temperatures in the Moscow region expected to fall to minus 24 Celsius on Sunday night, and minus 35 Celsius in the centre of the country. Ireland could see its worst snow since 1982.

In Poland, where at least four people have died of exposure since Saturday, temperatures dropped overnight to minus 12 deg Celsius while parts of Lithuania, which has had three deaths, saw the mercury fall below minus 20.

Three cold-related deaths have been documented so far.

Homeless people account for numerous dead, and cities across Europe have been racing to open emergency shelters to protect people sleeping rough.

BBC weather said an approaching area of low pressure in the Atlantic would result in heavy snow - followed by rain - hitting France and northern Spain.

Although the weather is reaping infrastructural havoc, the images of Europe's most iconic monuments in the snow are stunning.

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