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Heavy snow disrupts flights in Europe

Heavy overnight snowfall has grounded about 450 flights and caused major delays at German airports.

Schools were closed and roads clogged with traffic. At least two people died as the weather caused scores of accidents.

Snow also hit flights in the Netherlands, where Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport saw 30 cancellations and major delays ahead of the busy Christmas holiday season.

The European control agency eurocontrol said passengers at Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest airports, had to expect delays of up to four and a half hours.

Snow also closed Geneva airport though it was open again by midmorning, and flights were also disrupted in Zurich.

In Frankfurt, 300 flights had been cancelled by late morning, and the number is expected to rise throughout the day, a spokesman said. About eight inches (20 cms) of snow blanketed the state overnight, also causing the closure of schools around Frankfurt and elsewhere in Hesse.

The airport, continental Europe’s second-biggest hub, had to be closed for about an hour late on Thursday, and an estimated 1,000 passengers were stranded overnight.

Munich airport, Germany’s second-largest, reported 86 cancellations and major delays; Duesseldorf saw more than 20 cancellations.

Roads were clogged by snow, and in North-Rhine Westphalia state alone authorities reported traffic jams of more than 185 kilometres (115 miles) on major roads.

Two men died in the southern state of Bavaria when they were struck by a car as they tried to help a friend to pull his car out of the snow.

In Denmark, the state postal service reported snow has caused a high number of injuries to the country’s 12,000 postal workers – including broken limbs.

PostDanmark reported 355 carriers have so far been injured since November – compared with a total of 450 during last year’s entire winter.

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