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Danube frozen over

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Frozen Danube 2012

German authorities closed the Kachlet and Jochstein locks in the vicinity of Passau due to ice on February 5th 2012. The Main Danube Canal was already closed 2 days earlier, but icebreakers are used on the canal to avoid that massive ice chunks damage bridges or locks. Parts of the Main river are closed for the same reason.

Further down on the Danube the situation is even worse. Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania have suspended shipping as the ice chunks on the river are up to 15cm thick. The serbian army plans to use explosives to break the ice on the Danube and Ibar rivers to prevent floodings. According to AP News about 90% of the rivers surface is already frozen over. A series of pictures from the Lower Danube can be found here and here. Europe is in the grip of siberian cold air since end of Janurar 2012. Now temperatures in Eastern Europe are down to -30°C and hundreds of homeless people have been killed by the cold.

Update February 13th: Hungary has closed the Danube for shipping as well.

Update February 20th: The situation on the European Rivers eases up. Most german rivers are shipable again, so is the Danube. But now big chunks of ice are floating on the river and damaging 100s of boats and ships: Washington post article.

Photo shows frozen Danube near Silistra / by