Airports Closed, Trains Canceled as Winter Storms Drive Snow Across Europe
Severe winter weather continued to disrupt travel across Europe as snowfall shut down airports in Geneva, London and Edinburgh and Eurostar trains connecting the U.K. to the continent were canceled.
Gatwick airport, the U.K.’s second-busiest, will remain closed until at least tomorrow morning, according to its website. The main runway at Frankfurt airport was closed because of strong tailwinds, Stefanie Wagener, a spokeswoman for operator Fraport AG, said by phone. Geneva airport closed last night and won’t open until at least 6 a.m. tomorrow, with Bern closed until 8 p.m. tonight and Basel until at least 5:30 p.m.
“We’ve had an incredible quantity of snow and it’s still falling,” said Geneva airport spokesman Bertrand Staempfli.
The earliest widespread snowfall in Britain since 1993 has frozen over roads, disrupting traffic, with freezing weather likely to last until at least Dec. 8, according to British Weather Services. Roads are also frozen over across Germany, and new snow clouds are moving in from the south, Robert Scholz, a spokesman for the German Weather Service, said by phone. Temperatures in Berlin are set to slump to minus 11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night.
Snowfall around Newcastle in northeast England totalled as much as 34 centimeters (13.4 inches) this morning, while the London area received as much as 10 centimeters, Scholz said. Gatwick airport had a snowfall of 15 centimeters, according to its Twitter account.
Towns in the Luebeck bay area were among the hardest-hit in Germany with as much as 27 centimeters of snow, while more is expected during the night. Geneva airport was covered in 22 centimeters of snow this morning, which may rise to 30 centimeters today, said Dean Gill, a Meteosuisse weather forecaster.
Edinburgh airport is closed at least until the end of today, operator BAA Ltd. said on its website. Sky News reported that Scotland’s busiest airport would be closed until 6 a.m. local time tomorrow.
Eurostar Group Ltd., which runs the high-speed trains between London, Paris and Brussels, canceled eight departures today because of weather conditions, according to its website, with speed reductions on other trains, causing delays of as much as 90 minutes. Former Chief Executive Officer Richard Brown stepped down after the failure of locomotives in a blizzard last winter.
At Frankfurt, about 60 flights were called off as planes were stuck at other airports last night, Wagener said. Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-largest airline, said Fraport’s “mismanagement” of de-icing and ground-handling capacities were causing problems. The airport has experienced snow-related delays since Nov. 26.
British Airways Plc said it canceled flights to New York from London City Airport, while the carrier’s planes out of its Heathrow hub were departing normally.
Lyon Saint-Exupery airport was closed to arrivals this morning as incoming flights were diverted to Marseille because of low visibility, Agence France-Presse reported. Runway de- icing teams were on standby for a renewed onslaught of bad weather, according to the airport’s website. Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports are still operating normally.
Deutsche Bahn AG, Europe’s largest train operator, said some of its long-distance and regional trains were canceled or delayed as snow was being blown onto tracks. The company has capped velocity for its high-speed trains to 200 km/h, said a spokeswoman, who asked not to be named because of company policy. She declined to say how many trains were affected.
Power for next-day delivery in the U.K., Europe’s biggest gas user, rose as much as 35 percent to its highest level since January 2009 today as natural gas costs increased and the weather conditions boosted demand. French day-ahead electricity jumped to its highest level in five weeks.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org