Italy is shut down

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The unusually cold spell brought by a Siberian weather system is being felt as far south as the Mediterranean.

In great parts of central Italy, ice rain forced the total closure of Highway A1 connecting Milan to Bologna and also the autostrada to Ancona. Schools are closed for another 7 days, and 2 days only before Italy is going to the polls again for the next general election on Sunday March 4, 2018.

Bologna seemed a ghost town today.

A dangerous ice rain today also forced the complete closure of Highways (Autostrade A13, A14 e A1) in Emilia Romagna.

Sunny Napoli (Naples) woke up with a thick blanket of snow. The last time it has seen this amount of snow was in 1956 in times of black and white photos. Two generations later, another historic snowfall writes history and gets captured by colorful cell phone pictures.

Rome saw cross-country skiers in the early morning hours crossing the Vatican. While traffic went into a tilt, photos of the snow-covered Colosseum was a treat of the day. Nearby at Circo Massimo were the gladitors used once to fight, skiers and snowboarders who were fighting for best performance.

In Italy, weather conditions improved in the late afternoon, while train service is now disrupted and train service in Lombardy and Liguria has come to complete standstill.

The Mont Blanc Tunnel connecting Italy to France reopened today again for heavy trucks. The Grand Bernard Tunnel (from Italy to Switzerland) remains closed for trucks. With more bad weather due to arrive on Monday, the Mont Blanc tunnel might get closed again for trucks.

Europe’s big freeze continues to bring chaos to large parts of Europe, where at least 59 people have died amid sub-zero temperatures.

In Ireland, most transport and flights have been suspended where strong winds brought by a storm left some 24,000 homes and businesses without power.

Several other countries have faced disruptions caused by snow and ice.

The death toll rose to 23 in Poland, where the plight of rough sleepers is a major concern.

In some parts of Europe, the conditions have already improved, and the temperatures are expected to rise over the next couple of days.

Genevas Airport was forced to close yesterday and the United Nations in Geneva saw heavy snow ploughs making their way through the snow.

The cold weather is likely to continue in parts of the UK and Ireland. Commuters heading down to the south of England were left stranded today and have little chance to get home for the weekend as railway service will not resume until Sunday due to heavy snowfall and frozen tracks. However, that is the hopeful scenario, as the weather is actually getting worse and Southern Railways just issued this warning:

Southeastern‏ @Se_Railway

IMPORTANT! If you’re on a stuck train outside a station and tempted to leave the train. DON’T! We won’t run trains thru the area until we know everyone is off the track – the more people on the track, the longer this’ll take. If you see someone about to do it, TELL THEM NOT TO!

Meanwhile, flights and trains have been canceled and thousands of schools shut as sub-zero conditions continue across the UK.

Wales is the worst hit in the UK and has seen over 50 cm of snow – the highest in Wales ever. The red warning zone will remain and is bitterly cold.

Skiing in London has become quite popular these days. British snowboarder Aimee Fuller has taken to Primrose Hill after returning from the Winter Olympics in South Korea, where Ms. Fuller’s first run in the women’s slopestyle final was badly affected by the windy conditions and the 26-year-old British rider pulled out of one of the jumps because of the wind.

She said that the speed taken up in Primrose, London, was really amazing and people are being very creative.

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