Winter Wonderland Germany Sinks into Spectacular Deep Freeze

Temperatures in Germany fell as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius on Monday night and the weather is expected to remain Arctic for several days. The country is covered in a spectacular sheet of snow and ice. Commuters are complaining, but Berlin Zoo's polar bear Knut is having a whale of a time.

Temperatures in Germany fell as low as minus 24.8 degrees Celsius (minus 12.6 Fahrenheit) on Monday night according to figures from the German Weather Office as a high pressure front called "Angelika" turned much of the country into a winter wonderland of blue sky, snow-covered forests, frozen lakes and slippery roads.

There were some delays to flights and on the railway but there was no repeat of the transport chaos  that had hit parts of Germany on Monday after heavy snowfall which led to a 35-kilometer jam on the northern A2 motorway on Sunday night.

The cold claimed its first victim in Germany when a 77-year-old lady was found dead after going for a walk in the eastern city of Weimar.

Temperatures are expected to stay freezing in the coming days, heightening concern about the current disruptions to the supply of Russian gas  to Europe as a result of a dispute between Russian gas company Gazprom and Ukraine.

Berlin's polar bear celebrity Knut isn't complaining, though. On Tuesday he was rolling around the snow in his enclosure and enjoying the bright sunshine.

The cold snap has hit much of Europe and led to record electricity consumption in France on Monday. The power grid operator RTE registered power usage of 90,200 megawatt on Monday night, the highest ever recorded. Many French households are heated with electricity, which leads to a surge in power usage in cold weather.

Hundreds of airline passengers had to spend the night on departure lounge benches or in hotel rooms at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on Monday night because their flights were cancelled due to snowfall.

cro -- with wire reports

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