Winter has set in with a vengeance across much of Central and Eastern Europe. The reason for the frigid blast is a strong area of high pressure that has settled over western parts of the continent.
The location of the high-pressure system, or anticyclone, means that the past few days have seen a cold northerly blast extend from Scandinavia to the Levant countries. Kiev is facing temperatures of around minus 15 Celsius. This is around 11 degrees below the January average.
Further south, we’ve had an area of low pressure dominating the weather, bringing relatively mild, moist air across the Mediterranean. This feed of moisture readily turned to snow as it moved over Italy, the Balkans and across the Black Sea. Naples had seen a rare covering of snow, as the wintry blast hit southern and central Italy on Friday, making clean-up work harder for firefighters in the quake-destroyed town of Norcia.
Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine have had blizzards on and off for much of this week and further snow and strong winds are forecast as the winter storm extends into western Russia.
Elsewhere, a separate area of snow is currently moving out of Sweden and Finland into the Baltic States. We may well see a spell of freezing rain early in the weekend across northeastern France and the Low Countries.