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Europe snowstorms kills 4, bring traffic chaos

Snowstorms swept across western and central Europe for a second day, killing four people, stranding thousands of air travellers.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 08:33 IST

Snowstorms swept across western and central Europe for a second day, killing four people, stranding thousands of air travellers and leaving hundreds of drivers trapped on freezing, logjammed roads.

A 72-year-old woman died on Wednesday in the southern Spanish city of Seville when a tree branch fell on her head in high winds, while three people died in German road accidents, including a bus driver, who had a head-on collision with a lorry.

A fifth person became an indirect casualty of the weather when his vehicle collided with a gritting vehicle.

The sudden wintry snap, which follows a period of unseasonably warm weather across Europe, was nevertheless welcome relief for ski resorts in the French and Swiss Alps, many of which had previously been unable to open for lack of snow.

Up to 70 centimetres of snow fell in the Swiss mountains, 20 centimetres in northern Spain and 30 centimetres in southern Germany. More snow was forecast over the next three days.

More than 100,000 people were without power yesterday.

Power lines to 65,000 homes in remote parts of central France were still down after being severed by falling trees and the weight of snow. State electricity provider EDF could not say when they would be repaired.

Some 20,000 people in freezing northwestern Russia endured their fourth day of a blackout that was not due to end until Friday. In Austria, where 12,000 households were cut off, efforts to reconnect power lines were hampered by the risk of falling trees.