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Heavy snow hits air travel, roads across Europe

LONDON — Blizzards and freezing temperatures shut down runways, train tracks and highways across Europe on Saturday, disrupting flights and leaving shivering drivers stranded on roadsides.

Airports in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark reported cancellations or delays to flights.

London's Gatwick airport reopened late afternoon after 150 employees using dozens of plows worked to clear the runway of 4 inches of snow, though officials warned flights would be limited and cancellations likely.

Heathrow Airport will remain shut until today after snow and ice forced the closure of runways, according to a statement on its website.

Conditions on British roads were treacherous, Automobile Association official Darron Burness said. "One of the biggest problems is that large amounts of snow are falling very quickly on to frozen surfaces, making driving hazardous," he said.

In Italy, the Autostrada of the Sun — the country's main north-south highway — was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, whose chilly occupants were forced by snow to sleep in their cars, vans or trucks.

Paris was sprinkled with a light coat of snow overnight, as many people prepared to set off on their Christmas vacations. More snow was predicted, leading civil aviation authorities to cancel a number of flights at Charles de Gaulle airport. Many flights were also canceled in northeastern France and at Germany's Frankfurt airport.

The icy weather also swept over large parts of Scandinavia, causing problems particularly in Denmark, where flights and train services were disrupted.

Heavy snow hits air travel, roads across Europe 12/18/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:42pm]
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