BERLIN - Heavy overnight snowfall disrupted air travel across Western Europe on Friday, forcing more than 800 flight cancellations and leading to major delays in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Germany appeared the hardest hit by the snow, with more than 600 flights canceled, schools forced to close, and highways clogged with traffic after scores of accidents that killed at least three people and injured dozens.
Snow also hindered flights in the Netherlands, where Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport saw more than 100 cancellations and major delays ahead of the busy Christmas season, spokeswoman Mirjam Snoerwang said.
The European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said passengers at Schiphol, one of continental Europe's busiest airports, expected delays of up to 41/2 hours. Many passengers whose flights were canceled had their misery compounded by train and bus traffic also being hit hard by the snow, stranding them at Schiphol's terminals.
The Dutch weather agency KNMI issued a "weather alarm" warning of heavy snowfall and lethal driving conditions in large parts of the western Netherlands as traffic jams grew around the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague.
In Frankfurt, continental Europe's second-biggest hub, 470 flights were canceled by late afternoon, airport spokesman Gunnar Scheunemann said. The airport had to be closed for about an hour late Thursday, and an estimated 1,000 passengers were stranded overnight.
About 8 inches of snow blanketed Hesse state overnight, also causing the closure of schools around Frankfurt and elsewhere in Hesse. Roads were clogged, and in North-Rhine Westphalia state alone authorities reported traffic jams more than 115 miles long and 251 weather-related accidents that left 19 people injured.
Officials in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg said there were 108 weather-related accidents that left 17 people injured. Two men died in a traffic accident in the southern state of Bavaria.