Heavy winter weather batters UK, European mainland

(AP) — Persistent snow and freezing conditions from a Siberian cold snap are causing delays in many parts of Britain and mainland Europe, with roads and train service hit particularly hard.

Many rail systems were disrupted, in the northern and eastern parts of Britain, and several lines of London’s subway system were experiencing severe delays, including the Piccadilly Line that links central London to Heathrow Airport.

Emergency officials said many drivers had to be rescued from stranded vehicles. Hundreds of schools were shut for a second day in a row.

The weather also forced a number of hospitals to cancel elective procedures and outpatient care.

The conditions produced a magical winter wonderland effect in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, in northern Italy.

Related Content: Rare snowfall blankets Rome, closing schools

In Denmark, police say a 54-year-old man who suffered from dementia was found dead in the snow on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm.

Police spokesman Henrik Schou told the Ekstra Bladet daily it “likely was a combination of his dementia and the cold that killed him.”

Snowfall of up to 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) overnight has covered all of Albania, including a rare accumulation in the capital, Tirana. Many schools in the countryside did not have classes on Wednesday.

Snow has blocked many roads and has caused damage to power distribution pylons around Albania, leading to power cuts in many rural areas.

In Kosovo, the Education Ministry closed all elementary and high schools Wednesday due to the extreme cold weather of the past days. Temperatures were expected to drop as low as minus 23 degrees Celsius (minus 9.4 Fahrenheit).

In Kontich, Belgium, gigantic icicles formed on the exterior of a world globe, seeming to turn the entire Earth into a frozen orb.

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