A deadly cold snap has gripped Europe and has been responsible for the deaths of 20 people. Half of the deaths occurred in Poland, where temperatures have plummeted to -20 over the past few days. The weather has also been blamed for power outages and transport chaos.

Temperatures in Moscow were so low over the weekend that the fountains in St Peter's Square froze over and the country reported its coldest Orthodox Christmas (January 7th) in more than a century. On the day that Orthodox believers marked the birth of Christ, the gauge hit a distinctly chilly -30 degrees, with warnings that it could bottom out at -35.

Deadly weather hit Turkey

In Turkey, ferry services were cancelled across Istanbul's main river, the Bosphorous, causing severe interruptions for passengers, as well as businesses, on one of Europe's busiest shipping lanes. In addition, motorists abandoned their vehicles on a main highway after becoming stuck due to the adverse conditions caused by heavy snowfall. The main city airport has already cancelled 650 flights.

Italy hasn't fared much better, with the extreme lows being attributed to the deaths of 6 homeless people, and southern parts of the country blanketed in more than a metre of snow. In Rome, the Vatican fountains froze on Saturday evening and schools and public buildings have been advised not to open today due to concerns over travel and safety.

Several airports, including in the port city of Bari on the Adriatic Sea, have cancelled services.

in Greece, snow covered several islands and temperatures of -15 were recorded in northern parts of the country. The Czech capital, Prague, shivered through its coldest night of the Winter, and three deaths have been reported in the Republic.

River traffic was also halted on the Serbian stretch of the River Danube due to ice and freezing winds.

UK Bracing for cold

The UK is braced for its share of the Arctic blast with lows of -10 projected for the coming weekend and parts of Scotland seeing heavy winds and rain moving in from today. It's likely that this cold snap will result in the lowest temperatures of the winter so far.