Extreme cold weather continues to claim lives and cause transport chaos across Europe. The wave of polar conditions is moving from east to west and has already claimed numerous lives in eastern states. Most of the victims were the homeless and vulnerable. Road accidents are also pushing up the casualty list. In Spain five women were killed when a bus overturned near the Mediterranean city of Alicante. They were among a group of widows on an outing.
All forms of transport have been effected. Several airports were was closed for a time or hit by delays and cancellations. Northern Italy is among the western European regions enduring the worst. Civic authorities there have declared extreme weather alerts and people are being urged not to use their cars if possible. Switzerland, more used than most to these kinds of conditions, has experienced its biggest snowfall in 20 years. Almost a metre of snow fell in some southern parts of the country overnight.