White Christmas for Moscow while south Europe sweats
PARIS (AFP) - From deadly cold in Russia, floods in Britain and balmy conditions that have residents in south-west France rummaging for their bathing suits, the weather has gone haywire across Europe in the days leading up to Christmas.
The mercury in Moscow has fallen to minus 25 deg C - unseasonably cold in a country where such chills don't normally arrive until January or February.
The cold has claimed 90 lives in Russia since mid-December and 83 in Ukraine, with eastern Eurasia in the grips of an unusually icy month that has seen temperatures drop to as low as minus 50 deg C in eastern Siberia.
Another 57 people have died from the cold in Poland this month, and officials say the icy front is probably "the most severe of the last 70 years," according to Mr Regis Crepet, a forecaster with Meteo-Consult.