Continent shivers in rain and snow storms

Continent shivers in rain and snow storms
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Heavy snow and rain is disrupting transport links across parts of Europe as the recent spate of wintry weather shows no sign of abating.

In Italy, hundreds of homes in Tuscany have been evacuated because of flooding, and forecasters say the rain is likely to continue at least until tomorrow, affecting Umbria and Sardinia.

In Spain, rescue services are on yellow “danger” alert after flash floods destroyed roads and landslides swept railways away. Links between Almeria, Granada, Malaga and Sevilla have been cut.

Drought-blighted Andalusia has had its fifth day of rain where rising water levels have trapped people in their homes.

All of Portugal is on orange alert – one step up the danger leve. Authorities there say the rains have destroyed millions of euros worth of agricultural produce. Harbours are closed and the Madeira archipelago of islands is also under threat, as 110- kilometre-winds whip up six metre high waves.

In Poland, the lethal Christmas cold snap continues as heavy snow falls. There have been 29 weather- related fatalities over the holiday period, many of them homeless people. More snow is forecast and police have issued travel warnings.

In Germany, Berliners awoke to a blanket of thick snow that descended overnight, bemusing some of the city’s guests from overseas at the zoo.

The elephants appeared eager for a snowball fight but one local resident has seen it all before. Celebrity polar bear Knut basked in the sub-zero temperatures.

Last but not least – the UK Met office has also issued a severe weather warning.