Snow and wind paralyze European airports, trap drivers

Exceptional snow and wind forced airports to close Thursday in Scotland, Switzerland and France and stranded several hundred drivers in their cars as a Siberian cold snap stretched across Europe.

Geneva's airport closed after the Swiss city was hit with about five inches of snow over a three-hour period in the early morning.

It reopened several hours later after extensive de-icing of the runway, plans and facilities.

Sylvain rides  his snowboard on a snow-covered street during a snowfall in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Sylvain rides his snowboard on a snow-covered street during a snowfall in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, March 1, 2018.  (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Several deaths have been attributed to the unusually cold late-winter weather across Europe. The fatalities include a man in his 60s who was pronounced dead after being pulled from a frozen lake in London on Wednesday, the city ambulance service said.

Snow shut Glasgow and Edinburgh airports in Scotland, and there are cancellations at Heathrow and other airports in Britain. Airports in the southern French cities of Montpellier and the Atlantic beach resort of Biarritz were also affected.

The icy Alfred Escher fountain is pictured in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.  An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (Melanie Duchene/Keystone via AP)

The icy Alfred Escher fountain is pictured in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.  (Melanie Duchene/Keystone via AP)

Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars overnight in Scotland and authorities said everyone except emergency-services workers should stay off the roads.

Police in the county of Lincolnshire in eastern England say most roads there are impassable, with as much as two feet of snow in rural areas.

People ride on traditional cart through the snow and wind in the village of Podberezhie, 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. Daily temperatures dropped to -13 C ( -8,6 F) in Belarus. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

People ride on traditional cart through the snow and wind in the village of Podberezhie, 31 miles southeast of Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.  (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Forecasters say a new storm is due to bring blizzards, freezing rain and thunderstorms to Ireland, southwestern England and Wales on Thursday.

About 2,000 cars were blocked on highways in the Herault region of southern France, where snow — and snowplows — are extremely rare.

Icicles hang on a branch on the shore of  Lake Alpnachersee in Alpnach, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. An extreme Siberian cold snap sweeping across Europe is claiming lives in Poland and Romania, but also dusted the ancient ruins of Pompeii with snow Tuesday and prompted Amsterdam authorities to prepare the city's iconic canals for ice-skaters. (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

Icicles hang on a branch on the shore of Lake Alpnachersee in Alpnach, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.  (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

Snow blanketed Paris and the surrounding region Thursday, and authorities urged Paris commuters to leave their cars at home because of dangerous conditions.