East Europe cold snap leaves 13 dead

 

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia

Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall killed at least 13 people in eastern Europe as Croatia endured its worst winter storm since 1955 and Romanians struggled to vote in parliamentary elections.

Seven people died in the Czech Republic at the weekend amid temperatures of as low as -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Four people died in Croatia and two in Serbia as the Balkan region saw snowfall of as much as 110 centimeters (43 inches). Heavy snow in Romania hampered voters as Prime Minister Victor Ponta's ruling coalition won Sunday's general election.

"It was the combination of wind, snow and other factors that contributed to such a cold snap," Andrej Velkavrh, a meteorologist at the Slovenian environmental agency, said by phone. "The low temperatures are set to last until Friday, when we expect warmer air from the west."

Eastern Europe was hit by cold Siberian air and above- normal snowfall at the start of this year, triggering a surge in demand for natural gas across the region that Russia's OAO Gazprom struggled to meet. Moscow officials deployed 12,000 snow-removal vehicles and more than 7,000 people to keep roads open and sidewalks cleared last month amid the Russian capital's biggest November snowstorm in more than half a century.

Dozens of trucks carrying goods to Europe were stranded on Bulgaria's border with Serbia as snow blocks roads in the neighboring Balkan country, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said Monday on its website.

Serbia banned truck traffic during future snowfall "to avoid unforeseen traffic jams and similar consequences," the Transport Ministry said on its website. A tow truck skidded off a road at the weekend, blocking the main highway between the capital, Belgrade, and the Hungarian border in the north and leaving people in their cars overnight in a 10-kilometer line.

Above-average snowfall cut electricity supplies across Romania, leaving about 90 towns without power amid falling temperatures, the Bucharest-based Economy Ministry said Monday in an emailed statement.

In Slovenia, the state-owned agency that operates the country's highways and the police blamed each other for the chaos on one of the country's highways after trucks slid and blocked roads, leaving dozens of drivers stranded without food and water.

Lietuvos Draudimas AB, Lithuania's largest property and casualty insurer and part of RSA Insurance Group, said today that car accidents and related damage was about 25 percent higher than usual because of the weather conditions. Insurers registered 345 accidents by 11 a.m. in Vilnius, with damage averaging 2,500 litai ($934), it said in an e-mailed statement.

Montenegro reported 19 car accidents with nine people hurt as heavy snow and strong winds battered the smallest of the former Yugoslav nations, according to the automobile club's website. Two trucks plunged off a road in nearby Macedonia with no injuries reported, according to the Skopje-based Utrinski Vesnik newspaper.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor