'Beast from the East': Europe shivers as Siberian blast send temperature crashing

An icy image of the River Blackwater near Kanturk Co Cork

A record low temperature was recorded in the German Alps, where the temperature reached minus-27 degrees Celsius, or minus-16 degrees Fahreneheit.

The Siberian cold front - dubbed the "Beast from the East" in Britain, "Siberian bear" by the Dutch and the "snow cannon" by Swedes - has blanketed huge swathes of the region in snow and played havoc with transport networks.

An Arctic front, which Britain's tabloids have christened "The Beast from the East", has swept in from Russian Federation, causing widespread travel disruption and school closures.

Meteorologists have documented temperatures above freezing in some parts of the Arctic, causing astonishment among many scientists.

Two people died of exposure in Poland, while in Lithuania, temperatures dropped to -20 degrees and France saw lows of -10.

At least three people were killed in a auto crash in Lincolnshire, a county in eastern England, and at least two people were found dead in Romania, one of them an 83-year-old woman who was discovered collapsed in the snow.

The city, which is not equipped to deal with snow emergencies due to their rarity, has asked other areas to send in snow ploughs to help clear roads.

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Emergency shelters have been opened by many authorities to cope with the needs of homeless citizens.

The "Beast from the East", as the phenomenon has been dubbed by the British media, is expected to bring chilling winds from Russian Federation over the next week that will make it feel even colder than thermometers indicate.

In Belgium, a local mayor in a municipality of Brussels ordered homeless people to be forcibly detained if they refused to go to shelters.

Schools were closed and traffic brought to a standstill, with temperatures across the country plummeting to between minus 4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) and minus 8 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the UK Met Office.

"It is the coldest air we have seen over the United Kingdom at this time of the year since around 1991", Becky Mitchell, a meteorologist at Britain's Met Office.

In Austria, temperatures dropped below minus 20 C on and feel even colder.

"Parts of England and Wales are likely to see their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013 - perhaps 1991", said the Met Office's chief forecaster Frank Saunders.

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