Europe Still Seeing Blizzards, Ice

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures continued to sweep across the European continent Saturday causing more than a dozen deaths, and grounding airplanes and crippling ferries in Italy and Turkey.

At least 10 people have died of the cold in Poland in the past days, according to officials which said they included seven men aged between 41 and 66 who died on Friday. A 51-year-old died of asphyxiation with carbon monoxide from a malfunctioning heater.

Temperatures there dropped below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F) on Saturday and weather forecasts said it would drop further during the night.

In Belgium, one man died Saturday when his lorry slid off the highway.

In Italy, sub-freezing temperatures were blamed on the deaths of a half-dozen homeless people, while heavy snows and high winds resulted in re-routed flights, delayed ferries, canceled trains and closed roads, media reported.

With no indications of a letup, some schools were ordered closed on Monday in southern Italy that was buried under a meter (yard) of snow in parts, the ANSA news agency reported.

The chill didn't spare sunny Rome. The fountains in St. Peter's Square froze overnight and dripped icicles instead.

Temperatures dropped to -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) in Greece's second largest city of Thessaloniki, and -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) was expected Sunday, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Several Greek islands, otherwise known for their sunny and warm weather, were blanketed in snow with freezing temperatures.

Heavy snow crippled Istanbul, and national carrier Turkish Airlines canceled more than 650 flights. The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that even the Bosphorus Strait running through Turkey's largest city was closed with ferries being halted.

Turkey's private Dogan news agency reported that one of the main highways in Istanbul practically turned into a parking lot after drivers deserted their cars Friday night to walk home rather than battle the gusting snow and slippery roads.

It wasn't all gloom in Istanbul, delivery men whose truck was parked in a side street engaged in a snowball fight in between pushing their loads through mounds of snow that built up at the roadside.

Britain bypassed the cold and snow, sporting its usual gray cloudy skies and temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

(KA)