Record-breaking cold temperatures that hit entire Europe just before meteorological spring are now blamed for the at least 50 deaths.
Below freezing temperatures in Europe, in many regions coldest for this time of year since records began, claimed lives of at least 24 people, as of February 28, 2018.
At least 9 people died in Poland over the past four days, 4 in France, 5 in Lithuania, 3 in Chechia, 2 in Romania and at least 1 in Italy.
Below freezing temperatures and snow were reported as far south as southern Italy, Croatia, and Albania, Mediterranean regions where just a few centimeters of snow can cause severe traffic disruptions.
Emergency shelters for homeless, who accounted for most of the deaths, are full across the continent and are expected to remain full through the rest of the week.
Heavy snow was reported today in Bilbao, Barcelona, Santander and San Sebastian in Spain and amber weather warning was in effect for all its northern regions.
Beaches across southern France also saw snow as well as Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Capri.
Frozen sea shores in Øresund, Denmark this morning, Feb 27th. during strong winds and -8°C. Report: Mathias Rosendal pic.twitter.com/jakl99tlaU— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 27, 2018
Heavy (Adriatic) sea effect snow in Rimini, N Italy (0 m elevation) today, Feb 27! Report: Emilia Romagna Meteo pic.twitter.com/ujMWaA4rZt— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 27, 2018
Intense Adriatic sea effect snowfall at 0 m elevation in Gabicce Mare, Cattolica, N Italy today, Feb 27! Report: Gianca Uba pic.twitter.com/ugYNlVpDJC— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 27, 2018
A rather rare event of winter road maintenance on the island of Brač, Croatia on Feb 26th. Snow is very rare on the islands! And of course, there are no snowplows on those islands so the locals had to "invent" their own solutions, even for salting :) Report: Marija Cvetković pic.twitter.com/ff8dnGUsC3— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 27, 2018
An impressive light pillars from Matsuri village, Estonia. The green glow is Pechory, Russia and the yellow pillars rise from Koidula border checkpoint. Air temperature was -19°C, taken on 25th Feb at 3:01 (GMT +2). Thanks to Rainer Parijõgi for the report! pic.twitter.com/N1wXx4syWN— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 26, 2018
The last day of 2017/18 meteorological winter in Croatia will enter history books as the coldest ever. Minimum temperatures across entire country were below freezing, except for Palagruza where minimum temperature reached 0.0 °C (32 °F).
The coldest measured temperature in the country today was -22 °C (-7.6 °F) in Zavizan, followed by -20 °C (-4 °F) in Bednja, -16 °C (3.2 °F) in Delnice, Gospic and Lipik, -14 °C (6.8 °F) in capital Zagreb, the same as in Krapina and Varazdin.
The city of Ogulin was under 120 cm (47 inches) of snow at 06:00 UTC today, breaking the previous record of 118 cm (46.4 inches) set on March 8, 1955. Crni Lug (NP Risnjak) measured 155 cm (61 inches) of snow, breaking the previous record of 145 cm (57 inches) set in 2013. The city of Delnice was under 180 cm (70.8 inches) of snow, 2 cm (0.8 inches) less than yesterday's absolute record, but still more than its previous record of 175 cm (68.9 inches) set in March 1974.
National Park Plitvice was under 149 cm (58.6 inches) of now today, setting its new all-time snow record.
The number of fatalities rose to at least 50 by March 2. As many as 21 died in Poland alone, the majority of them homeless.
Severe disruption to transport and public services were reported across Europe, with schools, roads and rail services forced to close.
Featured image: Intense Adriatic sea effect snowfall at 0 m elevation in Gabicce Mare, Cattolica, N Italy on February 27, 2018. Credit: Gianca Uba