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Cold Snap Hampers European Travelers

Tens of thousands of European travelers were stranded today in rail stations, traffic jams, and airports as heavy snow and ice caused massive disruption at the start of the Christmas holiday season.

At least 19 people froze to death, mainly in Poland.

Temperatures plunged as low as minus 33 Celsius in parts of Germany.

The only rail link between Britain and France was closed for testing today, after a series of breakdowns trapped thousands in the cross-channel tunnel for more than 12 hours.

Forecasters across the continent are expecting more snow and freezing rain over the next couple of days, but with temperatures rising slightly and the outlook gradually improving in the run-up to Christmas.

compiled from agency reports