Heavy snow continues to blanket much of Europe, with the lowest temperatures for decades in some parts. This cold snap has now been blamed for at least 69 deaths, with homeless people and migrants among those most at risk. The Balkans have experienced temperatures as low as -27C, coupled with a blizzard. Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria have banned shipping on the Danube as the river is freezing over and floating ice poses a risk.

winter weather Europe snow
Ice floes float in the water of the River Danube near the parliament building of BudapestAttila Kisbenedek/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
People take photos as ice floes float in the water of the River Danube in BudapestAttila Kisbenedek/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
Swans rest on the ice-covered Danube in Belgrade, SerbiaAndrej Isakovic/AFP

Serbia's authorities are urging all migrants to move to the Balkan country's asylum centres during the cold spell that has gripped the country, bringing heavy snow and extremely low temperatures. Hundreds of migrants have remained in makeshift shelters for the past several days braving polar conditions with temperatures way below zero even during the day. They have occupied an abandoned warehouse and train wagons in central Belgrade, the Serbian capital.

winter weather Europe snow
A migrants eats his meal while sitting in the snow in BelgradeAndrej Isakovic/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A migrant receives a hot meal from volunteers, outside a derelict warehouse used as a makeshift shelter, in BelgradeAndrej Isakovic/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A migrant washes his face in a makeshift shelter at an abandoned warehouse in Belgrade, SerbiaAndrej Isakovic/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
Migrants warm themselves by a fire inside a derelict customs warehouse in Belgrade, SerbiaMarko Djurica/Reuters

Snow led to the cancellation of several flights in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, while a state of emergency was declared in several parts of the country. Snow dusted the ancient Acropolis in Athens and closed most schools in the capital, while more than 10 heated shelters were opened for homeless people.

winter weather Europe snow
The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis is seen following a rare snowfall in Athens, GreeceAntonis Nikolopoulos/Eurokinissi/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A dusting of snow lies on the Corinth Canal, west of AthensValerie Gache/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A woman visits the archaeological site of Olympion Zeus in Athens, after a rare heavy snowfall on the cityLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A man enters the sea at a snow-covered beach in AthensLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
Socks that belong to stranded refugee children are covered by snow as they hang on a fence during a snowstorm at a refugee camp north of AthensYannis Behrakis/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A woman sits with her child at the Hockey refugee camp located in the former Helliniko Olympic Complex, where mainly Afghan families live at indoor facilities in an Athens southern suburbLouisa Gouliamaki/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
Pigeons perch on the statue of Greek Independence war hero Georgios Karaiskakis following a rare snowfall, in AthensYannis Behrakis/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A man rides his bike during heavy snowfall at the seaside promenade of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, GreeceAlexandros Avramidis/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
People walk along a seaside promenade during heavy snowfall in ThessalonikiSakis Mitrolidis/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A woman poses next to Umbrellas by Greek sculptor artist George Zongolopoulos during heavy snowfall in ThessalonikiSakis Mitrolidis/AFP

Greece's navy has sent a tank landing ship to the island of Lesbos to house refugees and migrants during a cold snap that has triggered public health warnings. The vessel has docked and is due to provide accommodation for about 500 migrants. A medical association on Lesbos said that conditions at the main camp there were "inhuman" with migrants in tents exposed to freezing temperatures.

winter weather Europe snow
A migrant looks at snow-covered tents at the refugee camp of Moria on the Greek island of LesbosPetros Tsakmakis/Intimenews/Reuters

One person died and more than 10 were injured in Istanbul after a mosque canopy collapsed because of high winds and snowfall. It happened during a funeral service near Istanbul's main airport. Bulent Kerimoglu, a district mayor, told reporters ambulances rushed the injured to nearby hospitals.

winter weather Europe snow
Rescuers and medics work at the scene after the roof of a tent collapsed under heavy snow during a funeral ceremony in the courtyard of a mosque in IstanbulSuleyman Kaya/Dogan News Agency/Reuters

In Romania, Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea ordered schools in the capital to remain closed for the rest of the week as the country battled the bitter cold which has led to travel delays, power outages and a surge in demand for natural gas and power.

Swaths of northern and eastern Bulgaria were paralysed by snowdrifts that blocked roads and left 117 towns and villages without electricity. The main highway linking the capital Sofia with the Black Sea port of Burgas was closed. Bulgarian soldiers used heavy machinery to clear major roads, rescue stranded people and supply remote villages with food and water. The energy ministry said that it had turned down emergency requests for power from neighbours Greece and Turkey to avoid the possibility of having to ration electricity for domestic customers.

winter weather Europe snow
An climber ascends ice formations on the Kadzielnia Hill near Kielce, PolandPawel Malecki/Agencja Gazeta/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
Horses try to graze in subzero weather in Popielarze village near WarsawJanek Skarzynski/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
Aerial view taken with a drone shows round pieces of ice floating on the river Oder between north-eastern Germany and PolandPatrick Pleul/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A giant stuffed bear, a symbol of Berlin, is wrapped in a raincoat as snow falls on the city's Unter den Linden boulevardOdd Andersen/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A snow-covered T-Rex life-size dinosaur sculpture is pictured at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in FrankfurtKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
Kids prepare to build a snowman near the Messeturm in FrankfurtKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
Snowmen stand at the banks of the river Elbe in Torgau, eastern GermanyJan Woitas/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
People standing in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate take selfies as a street cleaner removes snowOdd Andersen/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
An Airbus A380-800 of German airline Lufthansa is de-iced at the airport in FrankfurtArne Dedert/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
People walk down a street during a heavy snowfall in Sofia, BulgariaStoyan Nenov/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A man rides a bicycle laden with wood during a heavy snowfall in a suburb of Sofia, BulgariaNikolay Doychinov/AFP
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Birds fly over a frozen lake in Bucharest, RomaniaDaniel Mihailescu/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A woman walks in the snow next to snow-covered automobiles in Bucharest, RomaniaDaniel Mihailescu/AFP
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Romanian gendarmes shovel snow in the courtyard of a school in BucharestInquam Photos/Octav Ganea//Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
Horses walk in front of cars along the M54 federal highway on a frosty winter day outside Krasnoyarsk, SiberiaIlya Naymushin/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A person walks along a bank of the Yenisei River on a frosty winter day outside Krasnoyarsk, SiberiaIlya Naymushin/Reuters
winter weather Europe snow
A man walks under snowfall in Strasbourg, eastern FrancePatrick Hertzog/AFP
winter weather Europe snow
A man walks across the frozen Dojran Lake, 180 kilometres southeast of Skopje, MacedoniaRobert Atanasovski/AFP

In Kosovo, police said a homeless man was found dead, apparently from hypothermia, the second cold-related fatality reported in that country. As temperatures plummeted to -25C, there were power outages in many areas. Meteorologists said it was the coldest weather since 1963.

Britain is bracing itself for several inches of snow and and traffic chaos as Arctic winds sweep through the country over the next few days. The armed forces are on standby to deal with any emergencies as the UK winter takes a turn for the worst.