'Beast from the East' blankets Rome in rare snowfall

Elias Hubbard
March 2, 2018

Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services.

The snowstorm led to Rome's first snowfall in six years with the temperature reaching -4 and covering famous tourist sites like the Colisseum and the Vatican, while also reaching as far south as Greece.

The freezing weather system moving from Siberia toward Western Europe has been blamed for the death of 24 people across the continent, according to the AFP news agency.

Hundreds of schools were closed in places including the United Kingdom, Romania and Croatia, scores of trains and flights were cancelled and police blocked roads to some rural areas due to hazardous driving conditions.

Schools were closed in the capital on Monday as the capital was hit by historic levels of snow.

- Russia: Temperatures in Moscow also dropped to this winter's low.

Cities that very rarely receive snow are being blanketed. The auto transporting the prime minister of Sweden skidded off a road in the middle of a snowstorm outside of Stockholm.

The Hydrometeorological Service said temperatures plunged as low as minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the central Lithuanian town of Ukmerge both Sunday and Monday.

Hospitals in Lithuania and Latvia reported a rise in people being treated for hypothermia and frostbite. Eastern areas are worst affected.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said emergency shelters "ensure people sleeping rough have somewhere warm to stay through the cold weather forecast this weekend and next week".

The Meteorological Office said on Monday the mercury in the Russian capital dropped to almost minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday night, the coldest night this winter.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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