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Snow causes travel chaos in Austria
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Jan 17, 2013

Over 200 flights in and out of Vienna airport were cancelled on Thursday due to heavy snowfall that also caused major travel problems across eastern and southern parts of the country, authorities said.

A total 229 of 342 planned takeoffs and landings until 4:00pm (1500 GMT) were cancelled, an airport spokesman said.

The remaining flights went ahead but often with significant delays after some 40 centimetres (15.7 inches) of snow fell in just 15 hours, a level not seen in the capital since 1986.

The airport had suspended all arrivals earlier in the day for safety reasons, but this was expected to resume at 8:00pm.

Many flights into the Austrian capital were diverted to Linz and Graz. Austrian Airlines estimated some 10,000 passengers were affected by the carrier's cancellations alone.

Elsewhere snow and strong winds caused delays on public transport and numerous traffic jams and accidents on the roads.

"We are seeing new accidents reported every minute," a spokesman for the fire brigade said.

Forecasters predicted up to 50 centimetres of snow in eastern and southern Austria and temperatures falling to at least minus 10 Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) from Saturday onwards.


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