East Europe cold snap leaves 13 dead



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
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teacher require...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style