A severe cold spell is gripping parts of central and eastern Europe.

Heavy snow has hit Romania hard in recent days, closing down schools and snarling road and rail traffic. Authorities say more snow and blizzards will hit parts of Romania already paralysed by bad weather, with power outages, thousands stranded in their homes and closed roads.

Four people have died in weather-related incidents in Bulgaria over the past few days. Heavy snow and strong winds have left dozens of villages in the eastern half of the Balkan country without electricity and water.

Temperatures dipped to -22 C (-8 F) in Moscow and -31 C (-24 F) in surrounding regions, making it the coldest day of the year. The temperature was 10 degrees below average for this time of year and expected to drop further.

Snow fell in the central Adriatic coast in Croatia, which is highly unusual because the region has a Mediterranean climate. The ice and snow in the seaside town of Sibenik prompted authorities to close down the schools there. Heavy snow is also falling in neighbouring Montenegro, causing road traffic problems.

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A woman uses a shovel to clear snow from in front of her house in Smeeni village, 100 km (62 miles) northeast of BucharestReuters
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Soldiers shovel snow in front of a house in Vadu Pasii village, northeast of Bucharest, RomaniaReuters
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Members of a local winter swimming club go for a dip in the Yenisei River in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, in temperatures of about -24 degrees Celsius (-11 degrees Fahrenheit)Reuters
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Fishermen walk along the frozen Yenisei River outside Russia's Siberian city of KrasnoyarskReuters
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Windscreen wipers poke out through the snow covering a car in the Romanian capitalReuters
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A driver shovels snow around his truck on a blocked road after heavy snowfall near Bucharest, RomaniaReuters
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A man takes a rest from shovelling snow in front of his house in Smeeni village, RomaniaReuters
A woman leads soldiers to a snow-covered house after heavy snowfall in Vadu Pasii village, 120 km (75 miles) northeast of BucharestReuters
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People walk past huge snow banks on a road in Smeeni villageReuters
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People work on the Olympic rings as snow falls at the Biathlon Centre in Krasnaya Polyana near SochiReuters
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Snow is piled up on a side mirror of a car in Bucharest, RomaniaReuters
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A man pulls his son on a makeshift sled in MoscowReuters
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A man walks on a road during a powerful snowstorm in southern RomaniaReuters
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A woman walks with her dog through a park in Sofia, BulgariaReuters