Chaos: Winter storm snarls travel across Europe

A woman looks at an information board which displays canceled flights at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday March 12, 2013. Due to heavy snowfalls the airport was closed temporarily.

A major winter snowstorm is snarling flights and trains across Europe, creating chaos for thousands of travelers today (March 12).

Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest hub, halted all flights around noon local time (around 7 a.M. ET) after heavy snow continued overnight from Monday into today, according to German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Bloomberg News said airport officials hoped to have the runways cleared by 1:30 p.M. Local time (8:30 a.M. ET).

The website for Frankfurt airport showed most flights had been canceled or delayed, though a small portion of the flight schedule there appeared to have resumed. Still, the airport advised fliers to check with their airlines.

In France, about a quarter of all flights at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport – Europe’s second-busiest – were preemptively canceled because of the weather, Bloomberg reports.

Just like in the United States, delays at Europe’s major hubs ultimately will affect fliers in other parts of the continent. For example, a flight from Rome to Madrid could become delayed or canceled if the aircraft or crew scheduled to operate it gets bogged down in snowy Frankfurt or Paris.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg adds “local trains were also hit, with (rail operator) SNCF asking people to avoid travel to Paris. Rail services were delayed to London’s Gatwick airport, close to which dozens of motorists slept in their cars after as much as six inches of snow fell.”.

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The Associated Press reports ‘Belgium suffered record traffic jams and high-speed trains were stuck in stations — all because of a sudden dump of oddly late snowfall on Western Europe. Thousands of commuters were left stranded on snowed-in platforms after many trains from Belgium were canceled, including some of the Thalys high-speed trains to France, Germany and the Netherlands.”.

“Less prepared for the kind of heavy snow that regularly hits northern and eastern neighbors, France, Britain and Belgium struggled Tuesday to keep moving amid the frosty, blustery conditions,” AP adds.

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