Extreme Cold in Europe

  • Frozen waterfall. Photo: PA Wire

    General view of the Cardiff City Stadium as snow continues to fall. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

    A gritter spreading salt. Photo: PA Wire

  • Extreme Cold in Europe
    04.02.2012 15:19


    High pressure continues to dominate across north-eastern Europe with extremely low temperatures persisting. The freezing conditions have brought sub-zero temperatures to much of Europe with some 220 people thought to have died across the continent as a result.

    The cold spell has lasted over a week causing power cuts, frozen water pipes, and widespread school and airport closures. As an area of low pressure from the Mediterranean hit the frigid, cold air across Europe, a snow storm caused major disruption which added to the chaos with thousands of people trapped in villages blocked by the snow in the Dinaric Alps in Serbia. One of the countries to have had the most significant snowfall amounts is Bosnia where Sarajevo reported receiving a metre (3ft) of snow in just one day. In Montenegro, a man died when an avalanche hit his car and another avalanche trapped a minibus for several hours.

    Ukraine is felt to have been the hardest hit as temperatures plummeted to -37C at one point and some places in the country haven’t reached above -16C during the daytime. The average daily temperature in Kiev is around -10C in January and -8C in February. It is also thought that as many as 101 people have died here, these consisting mainly of homeless people who were found frozen to death on the city streets.  

    The cold weather has significantly increased gas demand and as such prices have started to rise.  The demand from Europe is so high at the moment that some countries have had to resort to using their gas reserves in order to maintain the supply to their customers. As a result, gas prices are now at their highest in over three years.

    However, here in the UK, we are only today receiving our first countrywide snowfall of the winter season. With an average of just 7-10cm of snow expected to fall in many places and up to 15cm locally, (this mainly over high ground), these figures pale in comparison to our neighbours in Europe. However, temperatures will remain below the average over the next few days at least and it will remain cold, especially across central and south-eastern areas.

    By: Lindsay Dovey