Rome sees rare snowfall as arctic cold front freezes Europe

Feb. 26 (UPI) — About two inches of snow fell on Rome Monday — its first snowfall in six years — as an arctic weather front delivered cold and snow across Europe.

The sudden blanket of snow on Rome, a city unequipped to deal with snow emergencies, canceled school classes and limited Fiumicino International Airport to just one runway.

Officials said Rome’s government sought to borrow snowplows and other equipment from other cities and towns, and Italian police advised residents of the Italian capital to stay indoors.

Many chose instead to go for a walk in the rare snowfall. An impromptu snowball fight broke out in St. Peter’s Square, and residents and tourists were treated to a rare view of the city’s notable monuments under a blanket of snow.

Rain and warmer temperatures are expected in Rome beginning Tuesday.

Much of Europe is dealing with a front of cold weather — nicknamed “the beast of the east” — caused by a stationary high barometric pressure front over Scandinavia.

The British Meteorological Office said the weather system is expected to remain for several days and predicted bitter cold temperatures in Britain for the rest of the week.

The temperature in Moscow on Sunday was four degrees below zero — its coldest day of the winter so far. France’s Metro-France weather service advised that temperatures would hover 14 to 17 degrees Fahrenheit below average for the season. The mayor of Bucharest, where the temperature fell to 18 degrees Sunday, ordered schools closed for two days.

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