Friday, December 30, 2005

Europe Frozen Solid After Winter Storm

A massive winter storm has hit the continent of Europe with sub zero temperatures and ice and snow are making driving conditions very hazardous, if not down right impossible right now. It might be little late for a "White Christmas", but folks in this area are making up for it with a frozen new year.

The main road between Vienna and Budapest has been closed after almost six dozen vehicles were involved in traffic accidents and local weather reports state that there won't be any relief for at least the next couple of days. Some in this area are already starting to call this storm the "European Deep Freeze" because that's what it feels like outside.

Just about every country is being hit with heavy snow and worst of all ice which will eventually cause major power outages throughout the area. Massive traffic jams are reported in Germany and Switzerland, and the governments of Italy, Poland and France are concerned with the well being of their homeless population and they have sent out volunteers to try and find them and help get them to a warm shelter.

The biggest issue in these kinds of storms is the possibility of wide spread power outages which could cause millions of people to go without power and without electricty there will be no heating for many people. Of course, the elderly are always going to be the hardest hit by a storm like this because many are shut ins without close family members near by to check in on them.

Just a few years ago when France had a very hot summer, many of the elderly were killed by heat exposure because air conditioning isn't always part of housing in France because most of the time it's not needed. I would assume many elderly people would be faced with the same type of situation during a winter storm like this one, if they didn't have heat for their homes and apartments.

This is a classic example of why it's important for kids to check on the parents and grandparents during sever weather like this and to make sure they are alright. Many times parents and grandparents will say everything is fine on the telephone, but in reality, there are not fine. So nothing is better than an in person check of their home, pantry and refrigerator just to make sure they are in a position to ride out this sever winter storm.

Looks like many folks on the continent of Europe will be celebrating the new year from home this time and as long as they have already stocked up on their bubbly brew, they should be fine. My wife and I have been watching the new year come in on television now for several years and that's just fine with me. The last time we headed out to a public place, a couple of drunks tried to run us off the road when we were coming back home.

I was just looking at some pictures on the Internet from Germany, and the positive side of a winter storm like this one, is that it makes everything look so beautiful. The trees were full of ice and snow and in one picture, I saw a man that was walking down a country road with snow on the ground and ice sickles hanging from the trees. It looked like one of those old famous winter pictures you might see from time to time in a magazine.

If you live in this hard hit area, please check in on our friends and family that might not be OK after several days of being stranded at home. It's the right and moral thing to do and if you have extra groceries, take some extra food by to these shut ins or donate it to a local homeless shelter because they are going to need all the help they can get during a terrible winter storm like this one.

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