Snow Pounds Paris, Closes Eiffel Tower (PHOTOS)
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PARIS (AP) - Heavy snow in Paris on Wednesday shut down the city's main airport, its bus system and the Eiffel Tower. Elsewhere in Europe, bad weather caused travel chaos in Scotland, and a child's body was found after a flash flood in Spain. (Scroll down for photos)
In Paris, where heavy snowfall is unusual, the snow reached 10 centimeters (4 inches), weather service Meteo France said. It quickly turned into a slushy mess, and vehicles skidded on unplowed roads.
Flights in and out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle were suspended for about an hour and a half Wednesday afternoon, the city's airport authority said. When it reopened, only one of four runways was in use. At both Paris airports, flights were delayed by up to three hours.
All buses in the capital stopped running, as did many suburban buses, the city's RATP transit authority said.
The Eiffel Tower was shut to tourists around midday, the monument's press service said. Officials said they couldn't sprinkle salt on the tower's floors because of concerns it could damage the iron structure.
Simone Laloum, at work in a shoe shop near Paris' famous Champs-Elysees avenue, said she watched from inside as many people slipped and fell on the streets.
"We are not prepared here for the snow in Paris, not equipped," she said. "People don't want to go out, they're scared of falling. It doesn't get cleaned up."
In Scotland, the first minister said everything possible was being done to keep the country moving in "exceptional conditions."
Road and rail journeys were once again plunged into chaos by the severe cold, and a 20-mile (32-kilometer) stretch of Scotland's busiest road, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, was closed.
Meanwhile, in Spain the Interior Ministry said rescuers had found the body of a 9-year-old boy who drowned in a flash flood, as torrential rains lashed parts of central and southern Spain.
The ministry said the child had been traveling Tuesday with his brother and father when their vehicle was overwhelmed by water from the Alcudia River near the south-central city of Ciudad Real. It said divers found the body Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Spain, around 100 homes in Cordoba were evacuated out of fear the Guadalquivir River would burst its banks. Another 150 families had to leave their homes in Lora del Rio in neighboring Seville province.
In Paris, in a sign of how a little snow catches the city off guard, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux called a news conference about the weather. He said an additional 5,000 police, including 2,000 in the Paris metropolitan region alone, were deployed to help keep trouble on the roadways to a minimum.
As Hortefeux spoke, his children were in the ministry's backyard, at work on a snowman.