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'Beast from the East' savages Europe

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'Beast from the East' savages Europe

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Getting to work is no fun when 'the beast from the east is in town'.

Commuters in parts of the United Kingdom woke up on Tuesday to snow, strong winds and the coldest temperatures for years. Eastern areas are worst affected.

Despite efforts to keep roads clear, there has been widespread travel disruption and hundreds of schools have closed.

The Siberian weather system is set to continue for much of the week and southern Europe hasn't been spared.

In Italy, a low of minus 40 celsius was recorded less than 100 kilometres from Venice.

Air, rail and road travel have been affected and in Rome fountains have frozen.

The city has seen its heaviest snowfall in six years - bad news for tourists pelted with snowballs on an open top bus.

From the Baltic to the Mediterranean, Europe remains in the grip of the big freeze which has claimed at least 19 lives since Friday.