Heavy Snow Snarls European Traffic

A storm that dumped heavy snow from the Czech Republic to Italy created headaches for commuters Wednesday, causing dozens of road crashes in Austria and stranding hundreds of motorists overnight in northern France.

Scores of travelers spent the night in community centers and hotels near the northeastern French city of Nancy, where road crews worked through the night to clear about a foot of snow. France closed its border with Italy until mid-afternoon Wednesday because of heavy snowfall.

Only about half as much snow fell on the Vienna region, but it was enough to knock out power to hundreds of homes and create treacherous road conditions blamed for dozens of crashes.

Authorities said at least 11 trucks jackknifed in the province of Lower Austria, making many roadways impassible, and the snow appeared to be a factor in a crash that killed a driver in the town of Mistelbach.

Snow-slicked highways were closed for several hours in parts of northern Germany, while homeless shelters in the northern Netherlands set up extra beds.

Four trucks collided on the Czech Republic's main highway linking Prague to the southern city of Brno, blocking traffic. In Slovakia, officials warned of a heightened avalanche risk in some areas.

In Croatia, heavy snow and icy rain prompted officials to close down local roads, cutting off access to dozens of central villages. Snow also created havoc with trains in Hungary, where nearly 120 trains were running behind schedule.

In Britain, icy conditions prompted officials to close roads and cancel train service across a wide swath of eastern England.

In France, hundreds of people were blocked overnight in the Calvados region in western Normandy, where a highway was closed in both directions, the National Road Information Center said. Trucks were temporarily banned from using the route, it added.

Snow delayed traffic on the French high-speed TGV train line from Paris to southeastern France.

Snow blanketed most of northern Italy, causing minor traffic disruption on highways, and a motorway from Parma to La Spezia was closed as a precaution.

The storm was on a track to hit Scandinavia on Thursday, and authorities warned of slippery roads, poor visibility and strong winds. Police said small roads on the southern Denmark islands of Lolland and Moen were closed, and the army was on standby in the country's southeast.