Europe was in the middle of an unusually cold winter during February. Rome received the first snow in six years. On Monday, Feb. 26, inhabitants of the city woke up to a blanket of snow while chilly Siberian winds blew across the city. The event paralyzed transportation, shut down schools, and the authorities called in the military to clear the roads.
Emergency shelters in train stations were opened for the homeless and stranded. This unexpected snow is a result of the massive cold front that moved across Europe producing such unstable conditions that people have called it the "beast from the east".
This snowfall began on Monday at around 2 am and it continued for about 10 hours creating a layer of nearly 10 cm. The scenery was altogether mesmerizing and the locals took advantage of the situation to play in it. The city's parks, for instance, usually green and filled with plants and flowers, looked like a white field. This prompted college students and people in general to start snowball fights.
During the month of February, Europe experienced such cold conditions because of a "sudden stratospheric warming" above the North Pole. This led to a split in the polar cortex which opened up and delivered massive amounts of cold wind to Europe.
The Beast from the East saw temperatures lower than what anyone has seen in decades in Europe. After the snow, came the not-so-easy task of clearing the streets. Schools were later reopened.
This Siberian Weather System slowly moved across Europe during the harsh winter, which caused some places to experience cold similar to the Arctic Circle.