Ice engulfs a boat as the Black Sea is frozen near the shore in Constanta, Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. The death toll from Eastern Europe's severe cold spell has risen to 79. Temperatures have dropped as low as minus 32.5 C (minus 26.5 F) in some regions, causing power outages, traffic chaos and the closure of schools and nurseries. The weather is so cold that some areas of the Black Sea have frozen near the Romanian coastline. (AP Photo)
(The Courier-Mail) EUROPE continued to endure some of the coldest temperatures in decades as the cold snap's death toll topped 80.Now off to Japan:
At least 28 people froze to death overnight in eastern and central Europe, while countries further west and south began to feel the effects of a cold front spreading from Siberia.
Snow hit Italy, which struggled to clear motorways and railways after heavy falls, and the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.
In Ukraine, officials said 13 people had died of hypothermia over the past 24 hours, bringing the overall toll there to 43 over the past six days.
Most were homeless people who froze to death on the streets, but seven died in their homes and more than 800 sought medical help for frostbite and hypothermia as temperatures plunged to minus 30 degrees in some regions.
Poland reported five people found dead overnight, bringing the overall toll to 20 since temperatures plummeted there on Friday. The victims, most of whom had been homeless, were four men aged 29 to 61 and an 83-year-old woman.
Most of the victims had been homeless, or individuals who got drunk and fell asleep outdoors, police said, as officials reported temperatures diving to minus 30 degrees in some parts of the country.
In Slovakia, two people died as temperatures hit minus 24 degrees, the daily newspaper SME reported.
And in the neighbouring Czech Republic a 47-year-old homeless man was found frozen to death in the eastern city of Karvina, where the mercury has dropped to minus 29 degrees.
In Romania, six people died over the past 24 hours, bringing the toll to 14 over the past six days, the health ministry announced.
These included a baby who died in an unheated house in the northeastern town of Iasi, a ministry spokesman said.
Some 346 people, homeless or suffering from hypothermia, have been taken to hospital or rescue centres over the past 24 hours as temperatures fell to minus 32.5C in the centre of the country, officials said.
In Bulgaria, two people died in the coldest weather in a century in some parts of the country, bringing the overall toll to 10, weather officials said yesterday.
The temperature sank to minus 29.4C in the northeastern city of Knezha and minus 31.4C in the northern town of Sevlievo.
Guntars Grauss, director of Latvia's state medical centre, told the Delfi news portal that five men and two women had died in the final week of January when temperatures were at their lowest.
(ABC) Heavy snowfall has crippled much of Japan’s western coast, killing more than 50 people and injuring nearly 600. The worst snowstorm in six years has dumped more than 10 feet of snow in the hardest-hit regions, causing at least one bridge to collapse and forcing school closures across the region.
An avalanche today buried three people for more than an hour near a hot springs in Akita Prefecture in northwest Japan. The women were later found unconscious but survived.
Western Japan has been battered by one snowstorm after another since the beginning of the year, overwhelming cash-strapped cities struggling to keep up with cleanup efforts. In the Niigata Prefecture, officials said nearly half of their 30 cities had run out of funds set aside snow removal. Further north in the Aomori Prefecture, the government had already applied for additional funds from Tokyo, after draining its budget.
Residents, frustrated by the slow response, have taken it upon themselves to clean up the winter mess, resulting in deadly consequences. Nearly all the storm-related deaths have been a direct result of snow removal.
Meanwhile, in Nagano, the weight of all the snow proved to be too much for a 310-foot steel bridge. It collapsed early this week, although no one was injured.
The Japan Meteorological Agency forecasts more snowfall in the next 24 hours.