Nanjing Night Net

Winter cold snap jolts Europe, worse to come

PARIS: Early winter snows forced French authorities to close the Eiffel Tower and disrupted transport as north-west Europe braced for a pre-Christmas cold snap.Paris and much of the north of the country awoke to find a seven-centimetre blanket of snow on Thursday, which delayed flights from the capital’s Charles de Gaulle airport by up to two hours.Train and bus services were delayed in many areas, as daytime temperatures dropped below zero for the first time this year, and black ice coated northern roads.Snow also fell in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain.A light dusting across south-east England was expected to be followed by a fall of up to 20 centimetres in the east and south-east by dawn yesterday.There were predictions temperatures in Britain could plunge as low as minus 9C yesterday in the Scottish Highlands.Forecasters predicted high winds could combine with the snowfall to bring blizzard conditions to Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, in the country’s east.The BBC said conditions were expected to be worst during peak hour and travellers were likely to face transport disruption.The Government issued safety warnings as preparations were made for the snowfall.The chance of a white Christmas continued to ”hang in the balance”, weather forecasters said, and bookmakers have recently slashed the odds on it happening. One British gambler stands to collect more than £14,000 ($25,500) if it snows on Christmas Day.As temperatures continue to plunge, Andrew Harrop, of Age Concern and Help the Aged, spoke of his concern for the elderly.”For older people, protection against the cold is vital,” Mr Harrop said. ”Last winter’s cold snap sent excess winter mortality to a 10-year high, with around three-quarters of excess winter deaths recorded among people aged 75 or over.”The rail operator Southeastern said it was “working hard” to ensure a normal service would run during the forecast snow, but advised conditions might cause some disruption to services.The Automobile Association warned of the travel chaos equal to that experienced when a storm hit Britain last winter because only half of the country’s local councils had enough road salt to de-ice surfaces during a freeze lasting six days.Transport networks were almost shut down on February 2, keeping about 20 per cent of workers from their jobs at a cost to the British economy of £1.2 billion , the Federation of Small Businesses estimated.Agence France-Presse; Telegraph, London; Bloomberg
Nanjing Night Net