Extreme weather has swept across western Europe from the UK to Spain over the weekend. Blizzards and rainstorms claimed several lives, disrupted air traffic and caused road incidents and power outages.
In France, three soldiers who were to be deployed to Mali died after their military car crashed on a slippery road in a mountainous area of the southern Massif Central region.
Several other fatal car crashes in the country were also reported. A Spanish couple died in an incident involving a truck and 10 cars in the same region. A driver also died in the central city of Tours when his car skidded on an icy motorway and crashed into an emergency vehicle.
A man rides a Velib self-service public bicycle as he makes his way along a snow-covered area at the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris January 19, 2013.(Reuters / John Schults)
A man tries to move his car on a snow covered road in Cléry-sur-Somme, France, on January 20, 2013.(AFP Photo / Philippe Hugyen)
In Portugal, where authorities issued the highest-level weather alert in some districts, an elderly man was killed when stormy winds hurled him through a door, causing fatal head injuries.
Two men, one in his 40s and the other his 60s, died in Spain when powerful winds caused a wall to collapse on them.
A picture taken on January 19, 2013 shows damages after strong wind hit a shopping mall in Sevilla. The Spanish interior ministry issued an alert for the weekend, warning of snow and rain storms across the country with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) and rough seas in the Mediterranean.(AFP Photo / Cristina Quicler)
A picture taken on January 19, 2013 shows trees in Sevilla as the city is hit by strong wind. The Spanish interior ministry issued an alert for the weekend, warning of snow and rain storms across the country with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) and rough seas in the Mediterranean.(AFP Photo / Cristina Quicler)
Floodwaters submerge a road in Quinzanas near Oviedo, Northern Spain January 19, 2013.(Reuters / Eloy Alonso)
An avalanche killed four climbers in the Scottish Highlands on Saturday as they ascended Bidean Nam Bian mountain, near Glencoe. Another climber was seriously injured in the incident, and six others survived.
Later that same day, a man died when a car and a bus collided in Windmill Hill in Coventry in the UK’s West Midlands. A 26-year-old woman died when her car skidded off an icy road in Headington, Oxfordshire.
An abandoned car stands in a country lane near LLandissilio, west Wales January 18, 2013. (Reuters / Rebecca Naden)
Temporary signs stand on the A4075 road near Martletwy, closed due to heavy snowfalls, in West Wales January 18, 2013.(Reuters / Rebecca Naden)
Wind speeds in some regions of southern Europe reached well over 100 kilometers per hour. In Spain, it was so strong that it pulled trees out of ground or snapped them in two, crashed down lampposts and ripped roofs off of houses.
In the northwestern Spanish coastal city of Coruna, waves crested as high as 10 meters. Rivers also flooded in several areas.
Two open-air swimming enthusiasts prepare to take to the icy waters at a lido in north London on January 19, 2013.(AFP Photo / Leon Neal)
The cold snap forced London’s Heathrow Airport to cancel flights to and from the British capital, leaving thousands of passengers to camp out on the floor. The UK is bracing for the coldest temperatures in at least two years. The snow is expected to continue over the next week, with the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning.
Throughout Europe, airports and railroads were forced to change schedules to minimize disruptions due to the extreme weather. At France’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, about 40 percent of short- and medium-haul flights were affected.
Motorists are also advised to be cautious while driving.
Passengers queue at for the check-in desks at a busy Heathrow airport in west London on January 19, 2013.(AFP Photo)
An airport employee de-ices a British Airways plane on the tarmac at Heathrow airport in west London on January 19, 2013.(AFP Photo)
A policeman stands in the driving snow as he guards the front door of 10 Downing Street in London, on January 18, 2013.(AFP Photo / Justin Tallis)
A snow plough is driven past standing traffic on the M40 near Warwick, central England January 18, 2013.(Reuters / Darren Staples)
A small snow man sits on a bench in Regent’s Park after snowfall in central London on January 18, 2013.(AFP Photo / Aadrew Cowie)
A display of Crocus flowers is just visible beneath the snow in St James’ Park in central London on January 18, 2013.(AFP Photo / Leon Neal)
Pedestrians walk through the snow as they cross the Jubilee bridge in central London, on January 18, 2013.(AFP Photo / Leon Neal)