Hundreds stranded as snowstorms blanket Europe

Snowstorms sweeping across Europe stranded hundreds of motorists in northern France and brought chaos to other countries today.

Scores of travellers spent last night in community centres and hotels near the north-eastern French city of Nancy, where about a foot of snow fell.

France closed its border with Italy until mid-afternoon because of the heavy snowfall.

Storms dumped heavy snow from the Czech Republic to Croatia created headaches for commuters.

Main highways were closed for several hours in parts of northern Germany, and in the northern Netherlands, homeless shelters set up extra beds.

Four trucks collided on the Czech Republic’s main highway linking Prague to the southern city of Brno, blocking traffic. In Slovakia, officials warned of a heightened avalanche risk in some areas.

In Croatia, heavy snow and icy rain caused officials to close down local roads, cutting off access to dozens of central villages. Snow also played havoc with trains in Hungary, where nearly 120 trains were running behind schedule.

In France, hundreds of people were blocked overnight in the Calvados region in western Normandy and snow delayed traffic on the French high-speed TGV train line from Paris to south-eastern France.

Snow blanketed most of northern Italy, causing minor traffic disruption on highways, and a motorway from Parma to La Spezia was closed as a precaution.

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