Europe finally gets snow, and travel chaos

People enjoy the first snow on the beach
People in Ostend, Belgium, on Wednesday enjoy the first snow of the season at the beach resort. Kurt Desplenter / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

Three people were killed as snow and ice caused travel chaos across Europe on Wednesday, halting trains and planes and cutting off electricity to thousands of homes.

In Germany, icy roads caused multiple accidents, killing three people and injuring dozens, police said.

In the southern city of Stuttgart, about a thousand airline passengers were stranded overnight as 70 flights were cancelled due to heavy snowfall, the airport said.

In Britain, the first snow of winter disrupted road and rail travel across the southeast.

Commuters faced severe delays on many routes into London. Southeastern, a train company serving the region, said it expected delays to continue into the afternoon and said its Web site crashed from a flood of passenger queries.

Britain’s Met office said heavier snowfalls were expected in parts of the southeast on Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures dipped to minus 14 Fahrenheit in parts of France.

About 5,000 vehicles were stranded when the A6 motorway that runs through eastern France was cut off by snow and 200 police and firefighters were sent to help stranded motorists.

Power was cut off to about 85,000 homes in central France and train travel was disrupted.

In Austria’s Carinthia province 12,000 homes lost electricity when heavy snow toppled trees onto power lines and officials issued an avalanche warning for nearby Alpine mountains.

A blizzard deposited more than three feet of snow within hours, stranding hundreds of vehicles on roads.

But the weather was good news for Europe’s ski resorts which have been struggling due to a lack of snow. The cold weather is expected to continue for the rest of the week.