Feb. 3 - Snow blankets central and eastern Europe causing travel chaos across the region. Sarah Toms reports.
Snow storms and strong winds have been sweeping across central and eastern Europe. Areas of Austria and Serbia have been hit with unusually heavy snow bringing chaos and misery. Southern Austria, close to the Italian border, has been blanketed by snow flurries over the last 48 hours, leaving cars and trains stranded. The snowfall was so heavy in parts the army has been called in to help clear blocked roads and bridges. (SOUNDBITE) (German) ARMY LIAISON OFFICER FOR HERMAGOR DISTRICT IN CARINTHIA, COLONEL ERWIN HUBMAN, SAYING: "Half an hour ago the first 80 soldiers arrived from Spittal, you can see them unpacking their gear behind me. They will be assigned to clear public buildings from snow." Some areas had as much as one and a half metres of snow, disrupting travel and cutting off communication links. (SOUNDBITE) (German) KOETSCHACH RESIDENT, CHRISTINE ENG, SAYING: "We do get a lot of snow normally, but usually not in such a short period of time. We are well prepared for snowfall, but not for so much of it within three days - this is normally the amount of snow we get over one month." In Serbia, deep snow drifts left dozens of people stranded. Local officials in the northern province declared a state of emergency and rescue teams were deployed to help travellers trapped in their vehicles. Several hundred people have been moved from their homes in the past two days and several more hundred remain stuck in snow. And with a mixture of rain and snow forecast in the coming days conditions may turn icy.