Snow in Rome causes Italian soldiers to be deployed to capital's streets as arctic blast sweeps across Europe

Rome’s Mediterranean climate and proximity to the sea usually results in mild winters, but freak weather is causing widespread school closures and travel disruption

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Monday 26 February 2018 17:08
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Colosseum is seen during a heavy snowfall in Rome, Italy
Colosseum is seen during a heavy snowfall in Rome, Italy

Rome has been covered in a blanket of snow as an Arctic blast ushers in freezing conditions across much of Europe.

Soldiers were deployed across the Italian capital after moderate snowfall sparked school closures and public transport chaos.

Rome’s Mediterranean climate and proximity to the sea usually results in mild winters, with restaurants often keeping outdoor seating open even through the coldest months of the year.

But the freak weather caused the city's mayor, Virginia Raggi, to close public schools on Sunday as a precaution, with many private ones following suit.

In Moscow, temperatures dipped to this winter’s lowest yet, reaching nearly -20C on Sunday night.

Roman Vilfand, head of the Russian Meteorological Office, told the Interfax news agency that Muscovites should brace themselves for frosty weather in early March and could only “count on the warmth of the soul”.

Croatia has also been gripped by freezing conditions, with towns along most of the Adriatic coast waking up to temperatures below freezing. The cold spell has closed schools in the north-west, and heavy vehicles were banned from all roads leading to the coast.

About 1,000 Croatian soldiers have joined efforts to clear the snow in the worst-affected areas where more than 5ft has been reported.

Towns along the Adriatic have also been hit by strong winds which hampered boats heading to the coastline's many islands. ]

Only the southern part of the coast recorded temperatures above freezing on Monday morning.

Air passengers across Europe also face disruption as flight schedules are affected by the Siberian weather.

Eurocontrol in Brussels is warning of delays at airports across Europe, with air traffic management predicting “moderate to high delays” at Heathrow from 1.30pm.

In the UK, forecasters have warned of a “potential risk to life” as the cold front, dubbed the "beast from the east”, arrives.

The Met Office said there was a good chance rural communities will be cut off with heavy snow showers likely in parts of the country.

Additional reporting by agencies

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