Thursday, February 9, 2012

Europe's main waterway ices as deeper chill feared

BELGRADE - Thick ice closed vast swathes of the Danube on Thursday, crippling shipping and commerce along Europe's busiest waterway, as temperatures fell even lower and more frigid weather was forecast.
As it has daily since settling over Europe nearly two weeks ago, the brutal cold claimed new lives in several countries, pushing the deadly toll past 450, plus dozens more killed in weather-related accidents.
The 2,860-kilometer (1,780-mile) Danube, which flows through 10 countries and is vital for transport, power, irrigation, industry and fishing, was wholly or partially blocked from Austria to its mouth on the Black Sea.
Navigation was impossible or restricted in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, as ice crusted the river's surface or formed dangerous floes in shipping lanes.

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