Snow, high winds paralyze European airports, claim lives

A cargo train runs on the snow-covered rail tracks near Bakonyszentlaszlo, 134 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, when large parts of the country are overcast with snow, mainly in the southwest. (Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP)
Victor the polar bear plays in the snow at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, north England, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018. Britain, which is buffered by the Atlantic Ocean and tends to have temperate winters, saw heavy snow in some areas that disrupted road, rail and air travel and forced hundreds of schools to close. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
Icicles hang on a branch on the shore of Lake Alpnachersee in Alpnach, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)
A man climbs up an artificial ice wall in Liberec, Czech Republic, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A dog sits at the side of an empty road during snowfall in the village of Starino, some 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Daily temperature dropped to -9 C ( 15,8 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A woman shovels snow in Bredstedt, northern Germany, Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018. An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (Frank Molter/dpa via AP)
A man climbs up an artificial ice wall in Liberec, Czech Republic, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
The fire brigade of Airport Security Services (SSA) ride a snowplow removing snow on the runway at the Geneva Airport, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)
Cars in snowy conditions on the A192 road near Blyth, north east England, Thursday March 1, 2018. Persistent snow and freezing conditions are causing delays in many parts of Britain, with roads and train service hit particularly hard. Emergency officials said many drivers had to be rescued from stranded vehicles. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)
Sylvain rides his snowboard on a snow-covered street during a snowfall in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
People ride on traditional cart through the snow and wind in the village of Podberezhie, 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Daily temperatures dropped to -13 C ( -8,6 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Snow-covered cars are parked in a street in Flensburg, Germany Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Benjamin Nolte/dpa via AP)
A squirrel eats grains from a bird feeder in Lazienki park on a cold sunny day in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
The icy Alfred Escher fountain is pictured in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (Melanie Duchene/Keystone via AP)
Strollers walk through the snow near Feldberg, eastern Germany Thursday, March 1, 2018. Central Europe has been hit by unusually freezing weather in recent days. (Jens Buettner/dpa via AP)
A woman braves the wind driven snow in the alley of old trees on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Daily temperature dropped to -9 C ( 15,8 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Snow is cleared in Co Kildare, Ireland, Thursday March 1, 2018. Persistent snow and freezing conditions are causing delays in many parts of Britain, with roads and train service hit particularly hard. Emergency officials said many drivers had to be rescued from stranded vehicles. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)
The fire brigade of Airport Security Services (SSA) rides snowplows removing snow on the runway during at the Geneva Airport, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Geneva's airport has been closed "until further notice" after the Swiss city was blanketed by snowfall overnight. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)
A teenager smiles as the snow covers her face, in Pamplona northern Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Authorities predicted heavy snowfall and extreme low temperatures across Northern Spain. (AP Photo / Alvaro Barrientos)
A man rides a bicycle during a snowfall in Milan, Italy, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Passengers queue in the hall of the Geneva International Airport as the airport is temporarily closed because of heavy snowfalls, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA — An extreme cold snap across Europe claimed more lives, forced the closure of airports in Scotland, Switzerland, France and Ireland and left hundreds of drivers stranded on snowy highways Thursday.

Heavy snow and high winds halted all flights in and out of Dublin Airport, with authorities saying they are unlikely to resume until Saturday. Irish Rail said no trains are likely to run until Saturday.

Forecasters said a new storm is bringing blizzards, 100 kph (60 mph) winds, freezing rain and thunderstorms to Ireland, southwestern England and Wales later Thursday. They predicted zero visibility and deep pockets of snow.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged people to get home by 4 p.m. Thursday and stay there until the storm has passed. The Irish stock exchange shut down at midday and will be closed all day Friday.

"The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated," said Varadkar.

The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the cold weather poses particular risks to vulnerable people such as the elderly, children and those with chronic diseases or disabilities.

Swedish media reported that a woman who had left her home at an asylum center with her daughter and son, aged 8 and 9, was pronounced dead in the hospital after being found in a forest.

The Aftonbladet daily newspaper reported the woman was "poorly dressed" and her daughter was in intensive care. The son was found safe and sound Wednesday afternoon when temperatures in the region were about -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).

Danish police said an 84-year-old woman with dementia became the second person to die in the country because of the cold weather. She left her home Wednesday evening and was found Thursday in a park in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, police said.

It was travel chaos at Europe's airports and on its highways.

Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with 13 centimeters (about 5 inches) of snow over a three-hour period early Thursday. It reopened several hours later after extensive de-icing of the runway, plans and facilities.

Snow also shut down Glasgow and Edinburgh airports in Scotland, and there were cancellations at Heathrow and other airports in Britain. Airports in the southern French cities of Montpellier and the Atlantic beach resort of Biarritz were also affected.

Around the Paris region, about two dozen officials braved Arctic temperatures for a night outdoors to call attention to the plight of the homeless after at least 13 died from exposure since Jan. 1.

Dragging blankets and sleeping bags, officials from an array of political parties wearing their blue, white and red sashes hunkered down near Austerlitz train station as snow began falling early Thursday. The city was blanketed in white by daybreak.

Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars overnight in Scotland and authorities said everyone except emergency workers should stay off the roads.

Police in the county of Lincolnshire in eastern England said most roads there are impassable, with as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in rural areas.

In southern France, about 2,000 cars were blocked on highways in the Herault region, where snow — and snowplows — are extremely rare.

In Sweden, the Transport Administration said people should think twice before taking their cars out in areas affected by heavy snowfall.

Macedonia's government, meanwhile, urged employers to exempt pregnant women and people over 60 from working for a day and to pay special attention to keeping construction workers warm due to the freezing conditions. The low temperature Thursday in Macedonia dropped to -18 Celsius (-0.4 Fahrenheit) near the border with Bulgaria.

___

Jordans contributed from Berlin. Jill Lawless in London, Jan Olsen in Copenhagen, Konstantin Testorides in Skopje, Macedonia, and Angela Charlton and Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report.

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