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From snow to sunshine: Europe's chaotic winter weather

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From snow to sunshine: Europe's chaotic winter weather

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Winter weather has been causing chaos across parts of Europe, but Hungary was hit with unexpectedly warm temperatures.

France

Roads and walkways have been closed along the Seine River in Paris as water levels rose to new highs.

Flood monitoring agency Vigicrues reported that by Monday afternoon (January 8) the river had reached 3.97 metres and was expected to top 4.5 metres by Wednesday before stabilising.

Rising water levels are not uncommon in winter, but flooding two summers earlier saw the Seine hit its highest level in years and forced the closure of an underground commuter line.

In 1910, thousands had to flee as the river hit a record high of 8.6 metres and flooded low-lying parts of the city.

Germany

Germany’s Rhine River was closed to shipping on Monday after rain pushed water levels up, the country's inland navigation authority confirmed. The high water would not leave vessels with enough space to sail under bridges that cross the waterway.

The closure between Duisburg and Koblenz prevents sailings to and from Switzerland. Drier weather is forecast from Tuesday, raising hopes that water levels will fall, Cologne’s flood protection authority said.

Spain

Heavy snow brought parts of Spain to a standstill over the weekend. Over 3,000 cars were stuck on the AP-6 motorway in the Castile and Leon region on Saturday night as they waited for rescue services, including the Military Emergencies Unit (UME), to shovel out the snow.

The road runs from the capital Madrid, to the northwestern Galicia region.

Two other motorways – the AP-51 and AP-61 – were closed for over an hour between Segovia and Avila, but then reopened in both directions once the snow weakened.

Hungary

But it’s not all cold and rainy weather. Temperatures in Budapest on Monday hit unusual highs of around 8 degrees Celsius. Local residents donned sunglasses and braved leaving their thick coats at home. They say it has been more like springtime than winter in recent days. They may be right. On Saturday (January 6), temperatures in some parts of the country hit a record-breaking 17 degrees Celsius.

However, snow is expected to return by the end of the week.