The Latest: Geneva airport reopens after 2nd weather closure
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on frigid weather in Europe (all times local):
Authorities at Geneva’s airport say it has reopened after a mid-morning shutdown that was the second closure in as many days due to snowy and icy conditions in the Swiss city.
Geneva Airport authorities said passengers still should arrive two hours early for their expected flights, and use public transportation to reach the airport because of traffic problems on Geneva’s snow-covered roads.
The closure lasting several hours on Friday followed a similar temporary shutdown on Thursday.
The blast of frigid air gripping much of Europe is not bad news for everybody. Ice skaters are enjoying Amsterdam’s historic canals, which have frozen over during days of sub-zero temperatures.
Dozens of people laced up skates in the city nicknamed the “Venice of the North” and glided along the Prinsengracht canal on Friday. Tourists without skates also strolled along the frozen surface taking selfies of the unusual spectacle. One woman even walked her dog on ice.
Water authorities imposed a ban on boats on some of the city’s canals this week and closed locks and sluices to help the ice develop.
Despite those measures, canal skating wasn’t without risks. In some places, there were holes in the ice, and in others the water had not frozen at all.
Authorities at Geneva’s airport have suspended air traffic for a second straight day amid heavy snowfall.
The airport says on its website that departing and arriving flights have been barred until further notice “because of the prevailing weather conditions.” It advised passengers to contact their airlines to find out if their flights were still scheduled for departure.
A day earlier, airport teams scrambled to de-ice planes, tarmacs and other facilities that led to a several-hour shutdown following sudden snowfall overnight.
The airport said nearly 200 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled Thursday.
Switzerland’s official weather service, Meteo Suisse, said 13 centimeters (about five inches) of snow accumulated in Geneva before dawn Thursday. Snowfall resumed Friday morning, and visibility downtown was poor.
Britain’s military is being deployed to central and western England to help get hospital workers to their jobs and to rescue people from snowbound vehicles as unusually cold weather gripped the country.
The army is sending 20 troops and 10 four-wheel drive vehicles to Shropshire, and the Royal Marines sent resources to Devon and Cornwall after police asked for help.
One train traveling from London’s Waterloo Station to Weymouth ground to a halt outside New Milton, stranding motorists for hours. Thousands of homes are without electricity as temperatures remain below freezing, with bitter winds.
Heathrow Airport tweeted Friday that it was working with airlines to consolidate the flight schedule “to provide more certainty around departing flights,” as extreme wintry conditions were expected across the U.K. and Europe.