Europe's late spring freeze

An intrusion of cold air has pleased skiers, and worried farmers, in Europe

| | Weather, Europe, Snow, Moldova, Ukraine

Over the past week, a mass of polar air has marched through Europe, from Germany to the shores of the Black Sea. It was fronted by an active band of cloud that brought with it strong winds, rain and snow.

Alpine skiers from France to Austria were happily surprised by what turned out to be deep powder snow. This has given a brief boost to a closing season with anything up to one metre falling on the slopes.

For the most part, though, this weather was not welcome. Snow in Poland and Slovakia caused multiple road traffic accidents. Trees and electricity poles have been brought down in Romania as the weight of spring snow is greater than that of cold-winter snow.

Regeneration of the frontal zone with the help of the Black Sea caused two days of heavy snow in Moldova. The capital, Chisinau, went from no snow on the ground to 57cm in 27 hours. A state of emergency was declared.

The snow fell from the front of the mass of polar air: the air behind is, of course, cold. Morning frost in late April is potentially harmful to young crops. Vineyards in France, Switzerland and Germany have been either water sprayed or warmed by fires in an attempt to limit damage.

While weather warnings are still valid until Monday, the worst of the weather has gone and won't return. 

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