Environment, News, Science

Europe In The Grip Of A Cold Snap

Southeast Europe storm 26 January 2012
Satellite image of the January 26 2012 Southeast Europe snowstorm that brought over 100 cm of snow to some places. Image: NASA

Some countries in Europe are experiencing a bitterly cold winter.

Ukraine, in eastern Europe, has been especially hard hit. More than 100 people have died there in the last week, as temperatures dropped as low as -30C. Many of the people who froze to death were homeless people living in the city’s capital, Kiev.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, there have been avalanches and strong winds. The country declared a state of emergency.

One woman in Croatia had to have neighbours help her give birth to her baby after the ambulance could not reach her because of a blizzard. She later named her baby Snjezana, which is Snow White in Croatian.

In the UK, about half of the 1,300 flights out of Heathrow Airport have been cancelled due to bad weather. Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe.

Cars were stopped by heavy snow in London last weekend, bringing major highways to a standstill.

Last Friday, Rome, Italy had the most snow it has had since 1985. Schools were closed and train service was stopped. Tourist sites including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum were also closed.

About 33,000 homes in Rome had no electricity.

The Siberian cold front that is causing much of the severe weather, is expected to ease up later this week.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When weather is unpredictable, people and their governments can struggle to respond quickly and effectively. What would you expect from your government and neighbours in an emergency?

Reading Prompt: Purpose
Today’s article provides a lot of useful information. Write one science, one social studies, and one health question that could be answered with the information found in today’s story.

Primary, Junior, & Intermediate
Identify a variety of purposes for reading and choose reading materials appropriate for those purposes (OME, Reading: 1.2).

Grammar Feature: Proper Nouns
A proper noun is the specific name of a person, place, or thing. Just as with the specific name of a person, the specific name of a place starts with a capital. Today’s article includes the specific names of five different European countries.

Europe contains approximately 50 different countries. List all of the European countries that you know in the space below. Remember to use a capital at the beginning of each proper noun! When you’re done, check out an atlas or online map to see how many you got right.