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    Europe Cold Wave Death Toll Nears 300

    By By Jim Andrews, AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist.
    February 07, 2012, 2:45:29 AM EST

    Bitter Europe cold, compounded by heavy snow in many areas, has continued to claim lives during the weekend.

    The cold wave will persist through the coming week as further snowstorms take place, meteorologists at AccuWeather.com believe.

    As of Sunday, the toll rose to at least 297 following latest reported victims in Ukraine, Poland, Italy and France, the Australian ABC website, citing the AFP, said.

    Ukraine, alone, has seen at least 131 deaths after another nine people, mostly homeless, succumbed to the cold.

    About 1,800 people have been hospitalized in the hard-hit country, where 75,000 have sought warm shelter and food.

    Poland, likewise, has suffered dozens of deaths, the latest reported eight fatalities lifting the total to at least 53.

    The westward spread of the cold brought Netherlands its lowest temperature in 27 years, the BBC said. Lelystad reached -21.8 degrees C, or -7 degrees F, on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, heavy snow cover left villages snowbound and snarled transportation in southern Europe.

    In Serbia, about 70,000 villagers were reportedly cut off.

    Snow in Rome all-but halted normal life in the city.

    Snow also hit the U.K., where London's busy Heathrow Airport suffered major disruption its flight schedule.

    Even northwest Africa suffered harsh winter weather as biting winds from Europe crossed its shores.

    In Algeria, where at least 16 people have died, snow fell on the capital and port city, Algiers. The highland area of Kabylia was left isolated by snow.

    Snow also fell in neighboring Tunisia.

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