More deaths amid Europe's big freeze

Story highlights

  • Kiev has its coldest night in 83 years
  • 65 people have died in Ukraine as a result of the cold, emergency officials say
  • At least six people have died from the cold in Serbia, state media report
  • Frigid air from Siberia is to blame for the unusually cold weather in Eastern Europe
More deaths were reported in Eastern Europe on Thursday as the region continued to shiver in the grip of unusually frigid weather.
The coldest temperatures continued to chill the Eastern European countries of Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, where Thursday was the coldest day yet for many.
In Ukraine, 65 people have died since the bad weather started this week, according to the Ukranian Emergency Ministry. Of those, 47 were homeless. Others died in their homes or in hospitals as a result of frostbite and hypothermia.
Health officials say that more than 1,100 people have sought help for hypothermia and frostbite over the past six days, the state-run Ukrinform news agency reported, and more than 900 of them have been treated in hospitals.
The authorities have opened more than 2,200 heated tents for people who do not have heating in their homes. Most schools in the capital, Kiev, are closed through the weekend.
Temperatures there dipped to 25.5 degrees below zero Celsius (13.9 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) Thursday, the coldest night in 83 years, according to Ukrinform.
Conditions in eastern Ukraine are among the toughest because high winds are common there, and it is a poor area. Many homes still have a Soviet-era heating system, which is prone to break down.
Temperatures are expected to drop as low as 35 degrees below zero Celsius (31 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) overnight Thursday to Friday in parts of the country.
Freezing temps claim lives in Europe
Freezing temps claim lives in Europe

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    Freezing temps claim lives in Europe

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Freezing temps claim lives in Europe 01:59
European temperatures plummet
European temperatures plummet

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    European temperatures plummet

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European temperatures plummet 02:04
CNN International meteorologist Jennifer Delgado said eastern and central Europe are being hammered by a ridge of high pressure that is pulling in cold Siberian air. The trend will continue Friday, she said.
In Poland, 29 people have died as a result of the freeze, the publicly funded Polish Radio's news website reported, up from only half that number a day earlier. Temperatures plummeted to 34 degrees below zero Celsius (29 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) in the Bieszczady mountains in southeastern Poland overnight, the website said.
The country's southern, eastern and central provinces are most affected by the cold, with temperatures expected to fall even lower overnight into Friday.
Some schools are closed because their heating is inadequate to cope with the conditions.
Katarzyna Najorczyk, vice principal of a high school in Bydgoszcz, said, "Kids' safety and health is the most important."
Police are continuing to search for homeless people to take them to shelters. In Szczecin, Arkadiusz Oryszewski of the Phenix Association said, "During the last days of cold weather, our team had to go out to bring new people every two hours. Only tonight, seven people were brought, and this morning we have three men so far."
Six people have died from the cold in Serbia, and one is missing and presumed dead, the Serbian state-run news agency Tanjug quoted emergencies official Predrag Maric, of the country's interior ministry, as saying.
About 11,500 people have been cut off from the world by heavy snowfall, and a state of emergency has been declared in 14 municipalities, Maric told the agency. More icy rainfall and snow is expected.
Temperatures in Bucharest, Romania, dropped below 21 degrees below zero Celsius (minus-6 Fahrenheit) for the fifth consecutive night Wednesday into Thursday, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
Romanian Transport Minister Anca Boagiu said, "It's a moment when we cannot play games with nature, but we have to respect the force of nature. We have to protect ourselves and our families."
In western Turkey, heavy snow is expected to continue through Friday morning. Some city administrations sent workers home. Temperatures in the capital, Ankara, dipped to 19 degrees below zero Celsius (minus-2 Fahrenheit), and snow continued to fall there as well as in Istanbul.
Farther west, much of central and northern Italy has been blanketed by unusually heavy snowfall.
Air and road travel has been disrupted, and many professional soccer games have been canceled because of the bad weather.
CNN iReporter Luca Martini said heavy snow had fallen in the northern Italian city of Ferrara. The 12-centimeter (5-inch) snowfall is quite unusual for the area, he said, and is causing traffic problems.
Miller said a strong high-pressure area -- named "Dieter" by the Free University of Berlin, which has responsibility for naming highs and lows in Europe -- is currently bringing down the frigid Siberian air and keeping Europe in the teeth of its worst cold spell in years.
The heart of the cold air is now migrating slightly to the north, he said, and the most extreme temperatures will probably be found in the Baltic states and eastern Scandinavia as the week goes on.
An area of low pressure moving in from the Mediterranean will help the temperatures rebound somewhat in eastern and southeastern Europe, Miller said, but the system will bring heavy snow and storms, which will make travel even more treacherous.