The Big Chill: Europe Gripped by Coldest Weather in Decades

Europe has been hit hard by extreme cold and snow, causing power outages, frozen water pipes and the widespread closure of schools, nurseries, airports, bus routes and tourist attractions.

A buoy layer makes its way through sheets of floating ice on the river Oder at the German-Polish border near Hohenwutzen, eastern Germany. The German part of the river had to be closed for traffic on January 31. (Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dapd)

A gull flies over the frozen waters of the Black Sea near Constanta, Romania on February 1. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

A narrow-gauge railway makes its way through a snow covered forest at the Harz national park near Schierke, Germany on January 31. (Jens Schlueter/dapd)

A man touches an ice covered car on the waterside promenade at Lake Geneva in Versoix, Switzerland on Saturday. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone)

A woman peers out of a frost-covered bus window in Bucharest, Romania on February 1. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

Competitors participate in the 3 x 3 km mixed relay at the German biathlon Championships of the chimney sweepers in the Thuringian Forest near Tambach-Dietharz, Germany on February 3. (Jens Meyer/Associated Press))

Reed sprouts are covered with thick ice at lake Zwischenahner Meer ind Bad Zwischenahn, in northern Germany on January 31. (David Hecker/dapd)

Ducks take off from a pond in Minsk, Belarus on February 1. (Sergei Grits/Associated Press)

A heating plant is seen on a winter’s morning in Minsk, Belarus, as temperatures fell to minus 5.8 degree Fahrenheit on February 1. (Sergei Grits/Associated Press)

A polar swimmer gets into the water for a swim in the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic, on February 3. Four polar swimmers took a swim to honor their friend and legendary polar swimmer Ladislav Nicek, who died last year at the age of 97. The water temperature was 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air was 12.2 degrees Fahrenheit. (Petr David Josek/Associated Press)

A young couple enjoys a cold afternoon at a frozen pond in Prague, Czech Republic, where the temperature on Friday hovered around 19 degrees Fahrenheit. (Petr David Josek/Associated Press)

A Japanese monkey looks up as snowflakes fell in downtown Rome on Friday, February 3. Snowfalls are a rare occurrence for a capital usually blessed by a temperate climate, and other parts of the country experienced frigid temperatures unseen in years. (Massimiliano Di Giovanni/Rome Biopark)

Waterfowl are seen on a frozen river in Minsk, Belarus on Wednesday. (Sergei Grits/Associated Press)

Ice covers cliffs as the waters of the Black Sea are frozen near the shore in Constanta, Romania on February 1. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

A man dressed as a Roman Gladiator stands in front of the Colosseum as snow falls in Rome on Friday. The snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome’s ancient emperors. (Angelo Carconi/Associated Press)

A bicycle is covered by snow in downtown Milan, Italy, and a frozen spyglass is seen on Wendelstein mountain near Bayrischzell, Germany on February 2. (Associated Press)

A girl looks out of a window covered in frost on a bus moving in heavy snow in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday. Fresh heavy snow has triggered traffic chaos in Belgrade and other Serbian cities, further complicating relief efforts as Eastern Europe’s harshest cold snap in decades spreads to the north of the country. (Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press)

Frost covers a window in Zurich, Switzerland on February 4. (Alessandro Della Bella/Keystone)

Snow covers trees in Rubi, Spain, on Thursday. (Manu Fernandez/Associated Press)

A stray dog peers through a fence at a shelter in Glina, Romania on January 30. Inmates from the neighboring Jilava prison were mobilized, in temperatures below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, to clear the snow after the shelter was snowed in following blizzards at the end of last week. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)

An ice-covered boat sits at a landing stage at the Lake of Geneva in Versoix, Switzerland on February 3. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone)

A Belarussian pensioner cleans ice from a window at her house in the village of Kamenets, north of Minsk. (Reuters)

A polar bear enjoys the fresh snow in the zoo in Berlin, Germany. (AP)

A warm covered pug dog strolls on a street in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Germany faces freezing temperatures coming from Russia down to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). (AP)

A child runs past a wave protection dam covered in ice as the waters of the Black Sea are frozen near the shore in Constanta, Romania. The death toll from Eastern Europe’s severe cold spell has risen to 79. (AP)

Meerkats huddle together as it rains at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP)

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