Mother, three children found frozen in field
3 March 2005, LEIPZIG - A mother and her three children apparently froze to death in a rural field in eastern Germany, which has been hit by record-low temperatures, police said on Thursday. The bodies of the unnamed woman and her children, aged three, eight and 10, showed signs of death from exposure, forensics experts in nearby Leipzig said. There was no evidence of foul play and police launched an investigation into the circumstances of the deaths. Temperatures have dropped to as low as minus 25 degrees
3 March 2005
LEIPZIG - A mother and her three children apparently froze to death in a rural field in eastern Germany, which has been hit by record-low temperatures, police said on Thursday.
The bodies of the unnamed woman and her children, aged three, eight and 10, showed signs of death from exposure, forensics experts in nearby Leipzig said.
There was no evidence of foul play and police launched an investigation into the circumstances of the deaths.
Temperatures have dropped to as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius in parts of Germany, setting a record for early March.
On Thursday, western Europe struggled through some of the worst winter weather decades as heavy snowfalls hampered traffic and stranded thousands of passengers at airports.
One of the worst-hit areas was the Italian Riviera, where the airport, many roads and railway lines had to be closed. An emergency meeting to tackle the emergency was called in Genoa, the region's capital, which was under 30 centimetres of snow.
Weathermen say the current cold spell is Italy's worst since 1971. Snow whitened the rooftops of Florence, Milan and other Italian cities. Snow mantled the hills around Rome, where overnight temperatures plummeted to minus 4 degrees Celsius.
In Germany, where there have snowfalls for 10 days running, accumulated snow lay 40 centimetres deep in areas north of Berlin. A Meteomedia meteorologist, Thomas Globig, said it was not uncommon for the heaviest snow of the year to fall in March.
The snow has brought much of the Netherlands to a standstill, with thousands stranded overnight at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, which indicated delays would continue throughout the day. Train services were hampered by snow on tracks.
Dutch forecasters said it was the heaviest snow since 1979. In Heeg in Friesland, the highest falls were reported, with the snow lying half a metre deep in some places. Schools and public services were closed in some areas.
Persistent snowfall in the greater Paris area disrupted air traffic in and out of the city's two major airports, with Orly Airport, to the south of the city, closed to traffic for several hours.
In addition, snow made traffic difficult in several departments in the north and northwest of France, with school-buses and trucks banned from roads in several regions. A week of snow has left some villages in Normandy cut off by impassable roads.
Blizzards hit southeast Britain, with 15 centimetres of snow reported in the worst-affected area, Kent.
The army was called in to help in Kent, providing four-wheel-drive vehicles to transport staff to hospitals in the southern county. Traffic ground to a halt on motorways leading out of London to Britain's southern coast. Highway crews have struggled all week to clear the snow as fast as it falls on British highways.
Meteomedia said central Europe could expect changeable weather on Thursday and on Friday, with bands of cloud and snow interspersed with sunny spells before fresh snowclouds moved in from the west on Saturday. Temperatures would hover around freezing.
In Scandinavia, which has been hit by record cold in recent days, the sun was back and temperatures were higher Thursday, but Danish road officials urged motorists to equip themselves with blankets and mobile phones just in case they were stranded in fresh snow.
The city of Uppsala, 100 kilometres north of the Swedish capital Stockholm, experienced minus 25 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the lowest March temperature since 1942.
Spring arrived suddenly in Greece, which was dusted with snow earlier this week. In Athens, the midday temperature on Thursday soared to 16 Celsius. Melted snow swelled the Evros river, where Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece meet, and it flooded low-lying farmland.
Subject: German news