Europe suffers under big freeze


Ice-breaker Eisvogel clears the way for ships on the Danube River in the Vienna harbour (AP)

Freezing weather has hit Europe’s airports and high speed train services and saw major events postponed including music shows and sporting events.

In Paris a Lady Gaga concert was cancelled because trucks delivering sets for the event could not get to the city’s Bercy stadium. The show is expected to be rescheduled for Tuesday.

About 40% of flights have been cancelled at Frankfurt airport and at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.

Passengers slept in makeshift dormitories at the Paris airport and at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Airports and tour operators acknowledged there would likely be some disruption to flights through the week, with many aircraft currently stuck in the wrong location.

France is also having one of its snowiest winters in years. Many TGV fast trains are running slower than usual, taking about 20 minutes on to each journey. Eurostar trains to Britain and Thalys trains to Belgium and the Netherlands are also affected.

French weather service Meteo France said it forecasts more snow for the Paris region for Monday and a risk of snow and ice in Paris on Boxing Day – another major travel day.

Lady Gaga’s cancelled concert in Paris had already been rescheduled – it was originally postponed in October during massive strikes in France.

The pop star said staging and sound equipment was stuck aboard heavy trucks ordered off the city’s roads during the icy weather. “I am furious and devastated, it’s unfair to my fans and to me,” she wrote on her Twitter site.

In Italy, Florence’s airport was closed on Sunday amid snow and ice storms that blanketed Tuscany. At Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, more than 500 flights were cancelled on Sunday out of a planned total of 1,330 departures and arrivals.

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