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Long Johns Prescribed, Roads Perilous as Winter Hits Europe

January 10, 1987|Associated Press

LONDON — Swedes donned long johns on the advice of Arctic survival experts, waist-deep snow isolated more than 200 Greek mountain villages and freezing fog forced the cancellation of scores of flights at London's Heathrow Airport as a bitter early winter cold wave gripped Europe on Friday.

Hazardous road conditions caused traffic accidents, injuries and some deaths as far south as northern Greece.

In Warsaw, where temperatures fell to 24 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Thursday, saleswomen in the main Centrum department store downtown bundled up in heavy overcoats and fur hats because the room temperature was only 23 above due to heating problems, a Polish television news report said.

Flight Cancellations

A freezing fog covered much of southeast and central England, forcing Heathrow Airport officials to cancel more than 60 arrivals and departures on Thursday and delay 70 other flights for one to five hours, including 15 to the United States. Air traffic seemed to be returning to normal Friday.

Highway pileups injured more than 50 people in Britain, police said.

Bone-numbing temperatures were recorded across Northern Europe, with readings of minus 17 in Helsinki, Finland; minus 4 in Stockholm, and 1 above in Oslo. Meteorologists predicted Scandinavia's below-zero weather would persist for several more days.

Freezing brakes and switches caused hourlong delays in local and long-distance train traffic in Sweden.

Arctic survival experts recommended in newspaper articles that Swedes wear long johns and warm headgear to ward off the cold. They also advised people to skip washing their faces in the morning to preserve protective facial oils.

Bundled Up

Henning Engstrom, a private security guard patrolling outside the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm, was wearing a fur cap and two hoods, five sweaters, two coats, two pairs of mittens, two pairs of wool socks, long johns and two pair of trousers.

"You get used to the cold and dress accordingly. It is no problem," he said.

Greek officials said three people died in weather-related accidents as up to three feet of snow fell in the northern part of the country. Police reported that more than 200 mountain villages were cut off by the heavy snowfall.

Salonika airport was closed because of poor visibility, and officials said elementary and high school classes were called off in many parts of Greece.

In Poland, temperatures as low as minus 28 in northeastern provinces caused power and heating cuts and forced many schools to close, according to official reports.

PAP, the official Polish news agency, said the freezing weather and snow drifts caused disruptions in bus and rail service throughout the country.

Bus Failures

In the central city of Lodz, elementary schools were closed and people had trouble getting to work because many buses failed to start, Polish radio said.

Warsaw's streets were relatively clear of traffic as many motorists abandoned efforts to start their cars.

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