Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snow falls in Rome for the first time in 26 YEARS as -36c temperatures across eastern Europe send death toll to 150

Snow fell in Rome today for the first time in 26 years as freezing temperatures took the death toll across Europe to more than 150.

The Italian capital is usually blessed by a moderate climate but the snowfall prompted authorities stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors.

The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010. The director of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, said the sites were closed out of fears that visitors could slip on ice..

Snow began falling in the late morning Friday, leaving a light dusting on trees and cars and forming slush on the roads. It wasn't clear if there would be any significant accumulation on the ground.

The north of the country has also been gripped by snow and ice that is disrupting train travel.Temperatures plunged as low as minus 22 Celsius (minus 7 Fahrenheit), in Trepalle, a village in the Italian Alps.

Snow in Rome came as the death toll across Europe reached 150. Temperatures have plummeted as low as -36c in parts of Ukraine and Siberia. Read More