Intense cold and snowstorms have led to transportation disruptions and school closures in Scandinavia, while western Europe experiences strong winds and heavy rain, causing flooding and at least one fatality.
In the Nordic region, temperatures plunged below -40°C for the second consecutive day. In Kvikkjokk-Årrenjarka in Swedish Lapland, the mercury hit -43.6°C, marking Sweden’s lowest January temperature in 25 years, as reported by Sweden’s TT news agency.
The severe cold, along with heavy snow and gale-force winds, has impacted transportation, leading to the closure of several bridges and the suspension of some train and ferry services. Additionally, numerous schools in Scandinavia have been forced to shut down.
Police in most of Denmark have advised motorists to avoid unnecessary travel as wind and snow continue to batter the northern and western regions of the country.
The cold air from Siberia and the Arctic has extended to western Russia, causing temperatures in Moscow and other areas to drop to -30°C, significantly below the average temperature for early January.
Authorities in Moscow, St Petersburg, and other regions have issued orange weather warnings, alerting residents to potential health risks associated with the extreme cold.
Milder yet wet and windy conditions prevailed in southern regions, where a storm named Henk wreaked havoc in parts of western Europe.
In the UK, a driver died when a tree fell on his car in western England near the town of Kemble on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by Gloucestershire police.
Storm Henk has led to power cuts, transportation issues, property damage, and disruptions across the UK. Over 300 flood warnings were issued in England and Wales on Wednesday, with 10,000 homes still without power. A severe flood alert, indicating a danger to life, was declared for the River Nene in Northampton in central England. Some residents were evacuated from houseboats and caravans at the nearby Billing Aquadrome.
In the Netherlands, police near the city of Eindhoven suggested that strong winds might have contributed to the death of a 75-year-old man who fell off his bicycle late Tuesday during the widespread high winds. The country’s water authority reported that a small section of a dyke regulating water levels was washed away Wednesday afternoon, causing water to flow into the already swollen River Maas near the city of Maastricht. As a precaution, owners of several houseboats were being evacuated.
In France, heavy rains pounded the northern Pas-de-Calais and Nord regions since Sunday, leading to the evacuation of around 200 people and power outages for 10,000 households, according to local authorities. Flood alerts prompted warnings for residents to restrict their movements until water levels subside. Emergency workers from France and neighboring countries, including Czechia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands, were mobilized to rescue people from flooded homes and clear roads. Powerful pumps were deployed to divert excess water from the worst-affected towns toward the Channel and reduce water levels around the Aa River delta, as stated by the regional prefecture.
The national weather service in France maintained flood and wind warnings on Thursday for several regions across northern France, along with its borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Further rainfall, accompanied by winds reaching up to 100 kph, was forecasted. In parts of Germany, flooding was also a concern, and additional rainfall in the heavily affected north-western state of Lower Saxony could exacerbate the situation.