Europe's cold snap spreads west

Story highlights

  • State media: 122 people have frozen to death in Ukraine
  • Snow falls in Rome, snarling traffic
  • Heathrow Airport cancels some flights
The cold snap that wreaked havoc on eastern and central Europe this week moved west on Saturday, triggering a rare snowfall in Rome and prompting Heathrow Airport to cancel some flights.
Ukraine appears to be the worst affected so far, with Poland, Romania, Serbia and Belarus also suffering much more severe winter conditions than usual.
A total of 122 people have frozen to death in Ukraine since the cold spell started more than a week ago, the state-run news agency Ukrinform reported, citing government ministries. More than 1,500 people have been hospitalized, it said.
In Rome, residents woke up to snow for the first time since 1985. The rare precipitation caused traffic jams and left some people stranded.
While further west, in London, Heathrow Airport said it would cancel approximately 30% of its flights on Sunday in response to the winter weather.
"This decision ensures that the greatest number of passengers can fly with the minimum amount of disruption. It also means that those passengers whose flights are canceled will know in advance, and can make alternative arrangements or rebook in relative comfort," said Normand Boivin, chief operating officer for the airport.
CNN meteorologist Mari Ramos said the challenge now faced by many people is that the cold spell is lasting so long.
The first reports of heavy snow came from Romania on January 26, Ramos said. Now, although temperatures are becoming more moderate, the snowfall will be very heavy.
Twenty-nine people had died in Poland as of Thursday, according to the publicly funded Polish Radio's news website.
Other cold-related deaths have been reported in Serbia, Romania and elsewhere in the past week.