Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Snow in Rome: Beautiful pictures as rare snowfall blankets Italy

Philippe Huguen AFP | Godewaersvelde northern France Philippe Huguen AFP | Godewaersvelde northern France
Melissa Porter | 02 March, 2018, 09:40

Many were skeptical, but when Romans awoke Monday morning the forecast was right: the city was covered in a blanket of snow - a phenomenon so rare that schools were closed and public transport largely suspended throughout the day.

Some turned the ancient chariot racing grounds at Circus Maximus into a sledding hill.

The snowfall comes as a weather system blowing chilling Siberian winds across Europe, sending temperatures plummeting.

"Strong winds are driving ahead of this snow, so blizzards are expected - the avalanche risk is very high indeed".

At least three people were killed in a vehicle crash in Lincolnshire, a county in eastern England, and at least two people were found dead in Romania, one of them an 83-year-old woman who was discovered collapsed in the snow. The city, which is not equipped to deal with snow emergencies due to their rarity, asked other areas to send in snow ploughs to help clear roads.

Temperatures again plunged below -20 Celsius overnight in numerous parts of Europe - even hitting -36C in Glattalp, 1,850m above sea level in the Swiss mountains.

Baltic neighbor Latvia reported that eight people have been rushed to hospital with hypothermia and frostbite due to the cold spell. The auto transporting the prime minister of Sweden skidded off a road in the middle of a snowstorm outside of Stockholm. Temperatures in Moscow dropped to below minus-4 Fahrenheit, which is the coldest night for Russian Federation so far, according to The Guardian. The mercury in the Russian capital dropped to almost -20°C (-4°F) on Sunday night, the coldest this winter, the Meteorological Office said on Monday.

It's a monster winter storm, the likes of which Europe has never experienced before.

But the Romans aren't the only ones shaking in their bitterly-cold boots.

For some of us, snow is nothing to get excited about.

Army was to be deployed to clear the streets in the capital. But they said most of Italy's other main airports were open despite delays to some flights. The Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum - the city's top tourist draws - were also closed.

In Belgium, one local mayor has warned homeless people they will be detained by police if they refuse to go to shelters.

Adriana Di Carlo, a civil servant, said she had gone to work Monday though some colleagues had not.