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Deadly Cold Grips Europe

Fri., Jan. 3, 1997

Europe is stuck in a deep and deadly freeze that has wreaked havoc on everything from firefighters’ hoses to shipping lanes.

Ten days of near-zero temperatures are blamed for more than 150 deaths from Spain to Russia. Many victims were elderly or homeless. The mayor of one French town reportedly has ordered the homeless to accept emergency housing.

Heavy snow compounded problems, stranding tourists in their hotels under 16 feet of snow in Portugal’s Serra da Estrela mountains and prompting avalanche warnings in the Italian Alps. A guide died in a snowslide at Passo Rolle, Italy.

In Strasbourg, France, frigid temperatures silenced the famous bronze bells in the central cathedral. Officials feared the Zehnerglock bells would shatter if rung.

The Thames froze for the first time since World War II at Marlow in Buckinghamshire, 30 miles from London. In the capital, 150 water mains burst, turning busy roads into virtual ice skating rinks.

Tags: weather

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