Europe limps out of freeze as some services resume

March 14, 2013 - 4:12:45 am

A worker shovels snow in front of a restaurant on a sunny day on top of Feldberg mountain, 20km from Frankfurt, yesterday. 

PARIS: Icy roads were disrupting transport as northwestern Europe remained in the grip of unseasonable weather yesterday but many services were resuming after a severe late-winter snowstorm.

The snowstorm on Monday and Tuesday, only a few days before the official start of spring on March 20, caused widespread travel chaos with the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the suspension of train services including cross-Channel Eurostar trains.

The Eurostar link between London and Paris, the Thalys line between Paris and Brussels and other high-speed connections in northern France resumed running early yesterday, though there were warnings of delays.

After being forced to close briefly, Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s third-busiest, said it expected services to progressively return to normal after 812 flights were cancelled on Tuesday.

France was the worst affected by the snowstorm but Belgium, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands also reported major disruptions.

Services were returning to normal in France, with the Paris Metro and suburban train services running, though buses were cancelled because of icy road conditions.

The sun was shining in Paris, where buildings were covered in a picturesque blanket of snow and a lone cross-country skier was seen on the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower. The temperature was at -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), well below seasonal averages.

The icy conditions were causing road closures and slowdowns, in particular in the north of France, but highways were gradually opening as snowdrifts were cleared and vehicles stranded during the snowstorm were recovered.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned that disruptions could continue for another 

48 hours. AFP