Brutal and sudden cold spreads across Europe

An abrupt drop of more than 20C in just a week has shocked people and wildlife alike across the continent.

| Weather, Europe

After a record-breaking warm December, Europe finally entered winter at the very end of 2015.

An incursion of Arctic air flowed across Finland in the first week of January and spread down to the Black Sea, prompting rapid snowfall in Turkey.

The sudden cold really showed on January 3 when temperatures plunged in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, managing a high for the day of -14C, a 17 degree swing in a week.

Belarus has now been continuously below freezing since the early hours of December 27.

READ MORE: Freezing weather hits central and Eastern Europe

Finland also had a late winter. The capital Helsinki is now hovering between -22C by day and -29C by night.

Yet, until midday on December 26 every day had been balmy. For some context, the average temperature for Helsinki in January is 0C but the record has been noted as -33C.

The big freeze reached the Netherlands on January 6 where rain fell covering the country in dangerous clear ice. Parts of Germany were similarly affected.

Just recently, the mix of weather fronts from western Europe into the chill in the east has led to extensive snowfall. This is a welcome development for alpine skiers who have been watching the grass grow so far this season.

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