Much of Europe is experiencing severe winter weather. Heavy snowfall has disrupted road and air traffic in many countries. And winter storms in Germany and France have been especially harsh.
Residents in the German city of Leipzig woke up on Monday morning to find their neighborhood blanketed with snow. The first priority for many early-risers was to clear away snow from driveways and sidewalks.
Joerg Bruesker, Leipzig resident, said, "Today, we had to start work at least two hours earlier due to the heavy snowfalls overnight. Yesterday, on Sunday, we had already worked all day shovelling snow."
Snowfall on such a scale was not welcome news to airport authorities. Duesseldorf International Airport said no flights were allowed to land or take off for about 3 hours on Monday morning. The clearing crews there were unable to keep up with the falling snow.
Christian Witt, Duesseldorf Airport spokesman, said, "This morning, the Duesseldorf Airport was deeply covered with snow, even though our colleagues from the snow team were on duty all night. There was heavy snowfall - 20 centimeters - which has finally led to the closure of the runways."
More than 30 flights were cancelled because of the extreme weather.
Traffic was backed up for hours on many of Germany's highways as snow ploughs struggled to clear the roads amid heavy post-holiday traffic.
Meanwhile in France, heavy snow fall disrupted flights and road traffic in northern and central parts of the country.
The national weather service recorded up to 5 centimeters of snow in most areas and up to 10 centimeters in some areas. Road alerts were in effect in some 30 regions as ice froze over roads.
A dozen flights were cancelled on Monday at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
(CCTV January 7, 2009)