LONDON - Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures shut down runways, train tracks and highways across Europe on Saturday, disrupting flights and leaving shivering drivers stranded on roadsides.

Airports in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark reported cancellations or delays.

London's Gatwick Airport reopened in late afternoon after 150 employees using dozens of snowplows worked to clear the runway, though officials warned that flights would be limited and cancellations likely.

Heathrow Airport was to remain shut until Sunday after snow and ice forced the closure of runways, according to a statement on its website.

Conditions on British roads were treacherous, Automobile Association official Darron Burness said. "One of the biggest problems is that large amounts of snow are falling very quickly onto frozen surfaces, making driving hazardous," he said.

Hundreds of motorists were stranded on a major road in northwestern England, prompting police patrols to offer food and water to drivers.

Jeremy Clarkson, host of the BBC motoring program Top Gear, said that he was among drivers forced to abandon their vehicles close to Oxford, west of London. "It was very bad out there," he said.

In Italy, the Autostrada of the Sun - the country's main north-south highway - was jammed with hundreds of vehicles, whose chilly occupants slept in their cars, vans or trucks.

Paris was sprinkled with a light coat of snow overnight, as many people prepared to set off on their Christmas vacations. More snow was predicted Saturday, leading civil aviation authorities to cancel 15 percent of flights at Charles de Gaulle airport between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Significant numbers of domestic and European flights were canceled at Germany's Frankfurt airport as it dealt with the disruption.

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn said it was pressing into service all the trains it could - though some journeys were subject to delays. "Everything that can roll is rolling," spokesman Holger Auferkamp told the German news agency DAPD.