Winter Storm Blankets Paris with Snow

February 26, 2013; 5:00 PM ET
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People stroll in the snow covered square of the Louvre museum, after a snowfall in Paris, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

A sprawling winter storm, centered near Italy, has hovered over the Mediterranean basin since last Friday, bringing snow to a wide area of central and western Europe.

Some of the heaviest snow fell between Friday and Sunday in parts of northern Italy, Austria and Czech Republic. By Monday, snow waned in central Europe and backed westward into France and northernmost Spain.

Most snowfall was modest. Paris received roughly 1 inch while St. Girons in southern France and Limoges in central France received up to 4 inches.

The snow in Europe was set up by the strong Mediterranean storm together with strong high pressure spread across Scandinavia and western Russia to the North Sea.

It was the high that steered an Atlantic storm on a southern track eastward to the Mediterranean Sea while also spreading unusually cold air over western Europe.

The cold air allowed the storm's precipitation to spread northward and westward as snow, rather than rain, which is more typical of winter in most of western Europe.

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