Brutal Cold Snap Hits Europe

Rare Snow Storm in RomeRare Snow Storm in Rome

The Arctic storm dubbed the "Beast from the East" set record low temperatures across much of Europe on Monday and brought a rare snowstorm to Rome, paralyzing the city and giving its residents an unusual chance to ski, sled and build snowmen in its famous parks and piazzas.

Rome's train, plane and bus services were crippled and Italy's civil protection agency even mobilized the army to help clear slush-covered streets as a city used to mild winters was covered by a thick blanket of snow, AP reported.

Elsewhere, the storm set dangerously low temperatures. Meteorologists in Germany reported a record low for this winter of -27° Celsius on the Zugspitze Mountain in the Alps. Moscow, as well, recorded its coldest night this winter, with the mercury dipping to nearly -20° C on Sunday night.

Doctors in Britain warned that the already-stretched National Health Service may have trouble coping with extra patients affected by what meteorologists are forecasting will be days of cold and high winds.

***Seven Dead  

The intense winter weather has brought freezing temperatures from Siberia claiming at least seven lives, disrupting travel and closing schools.

Two people have died in Poland since Saturday. Three in Lithuania have also died due to exposure over the past three days as weekend temperatures plunged to -24° C, AFP reported.

In France, where temperatures were forecast to drop to -10° C over the coming days, two people have been reported dead. French officials have opened emergency shelters for the homeless, with national forecaster Meteo France saying the so-called "Moscow-Paris" cold snap will peak on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Britain, snow was falling in eastern England and was expected to spread.

"Parts of England and Wales are likely to see their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013—perhaps 1991," Britain's weather service, the Met Office, said on Sunday.

In Belgium, a local mayor in a municipality of Brussels ordered homeless people to be forcibly detained if they refused to go to shelters with temperatures set to drop to -15° C on Wednesday night.

Snow has disrupted travel in the Netherlands, where the chill has been labeled "the Siberian bear" and where a low of -17° C is expected on Thursday.

Temperatures were seen dropping to -20° C in parts of Germany and homeless shelters were 95% full overnight.

In Sweden, the snowfall caused about 20 flights to be canceled at Stockholm's Arlanda airport, primarily to European destinations, according to operator Swedavia.

In Slovenia, the infamous "bora" winter wind has been blowing with speeds of more than 100 kilometers per hour.

Temperatures fell to -7° C in Bulgarian capital, Sofia, and to -20° C in parts of Austria.

In Croatia, about 1,000 soldiers joined in the clearing operations in the worst-affected areas, where over 1.5 meters were reported.

Russia itself was not spared, with its meteorological service warning of "abnormally cold" temperatures of between -14° C and -24° C.

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