Death Toll Rises in European Cold Snap

Europeans grapple with worst winter in years
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2012 1:02 AM CST
Thousands Stranded in Snow
A woman looks out of a window covered in frost on a bus in Bucharest, Romania, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

(Newser) – While much of the US basks in unseasonably warmish weather, Europe continues to be locked in a deep freeze that's getting even colder. More than 100 people have died in Ukraine, Italy is suffering its coldest winter in 27 years, and conditions are so severe in Serbia that thousands have been stranded in -22 degree cold along with six feet of snow, reports the BBC. Food and medicines are being airlifted in, and helicopters are attempting to move the most fragile Serbians to safety. Authorities are also scrambling to get help to people in Greece, Spain, and Italy. Nearly 600 passengers were stranded this week for seven hours in an Italian mountain train when the brakes and electrical cables froze. Temperatures have plunged as low at -40 degrees in Russia—which is -52 with the wind chill factored in.

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England is steeling this weekend for several inches of snow and frigid temperatures. Forecasters, meanwhile, are perplexed by continuing mild weather in much of the US. Temperatures hit 62 degrees yesterday in Wichita, Kansas, warmer than Las Vegas. New York City has had just 4 inches of snow this year compared to a 36-inch dump by this time last year, reports the Los Angeles Times. When cold snaps do occur, they tend to be extremely brief. "If you don't like cold, it's a pattern you like," said one forecaster. But the lack of snow has been bad news for ski hill operators, and worrisome to Western states continuously concerned about water. (Read more Serbia stories.)

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