(CNN) -- A blast of harsh winter weather socked Europe Friday, causing travel chaos and sending temperatures into the deep-freeze.
From Northern Ireland to Bulgaria, blizzard conditions left airports with heavy delays or shut them entirely. In Belgium, truck drivers were forced to spend a freezing night in their cabs when authorities banned trucks over seven tons from travelling on icy roads.
At London's Heathrow Airport, snow caused the cancellation of many short-haul flights. These cancellations sparked a domino-effect that left passenger aircraft unable to get to the gates, prompting further delays. Hundreds of passengers who did manage to land were still unable to claim their luggage after baggage-handlers ended their shifts.
Meteorologists say the cold weather is caused by a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, which means that cold Arctic air is flowing into southern latitudes that are normally much warmer.
Forecasters don't expect conditions to change anytime soon. The next wave of snowy weather is expected to bring up to 20 centimeters to some parts of the U.K., with London expected to receive 5-10 centimeters of snow.
The weather system will move across France and Germany on Saturday night and Sunday. Below-normal temperatures are expected to continue in northern Europe into the beginning of next week.