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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 22:32 GMT
Big freeze grips northern Europe
Car on snowbound street in Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany
The worst of the weekend snow is said to be over
Sudden snowstorms have gripped northern Europe, causing several cold-related deaths and cutting power to tens of thousands of homes.

Rail and road networks ground to a halt with hundreds of commuters stranded in the Netherlands and people having to be rescued from vehicles in England.

Tourists in Paris could not visit the Eiffel Tower for four hours because of icy conditions on its metal walkways.

As much as 20cm (8in) of snow fell overnight in some countries.

The worst had reportedly passed by Saturday afternoon but warnings were issued for continuing ice and snow and slippery road conditions on Saturday night.

Paris deaths

Three homeless people in the French capital froze to death, one of them inside the car where he had been living.

According to French news agency AFP, a fourth man froze to death outside a church in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Snow disruption was reported from the west of Germany to the south-west of England:

  • Power cuts left 250,000 people without power in Germany's most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia, while 19,000 households lost electricity in France's Vendee region

  • Flights in and out of airports in Paris, Brussels and the German city of Duesseldorf were all affected

  • The Netherlands recorded serious traffic jams, with hundreds of people sleeping in their cars after waiting up to 10 hours alongside motorways, while 1,000 motorists were stranded for hours in Cornwall, England

  • Spain closed several mountain passes and urged motorists to fit tyre chains in the north.

Footage of the harsh weather affecting Europe

In pictures: Frozen Europe
26 Nov 05 |  In Pictures

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