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The majority of Europe has been enveloped in ice and snow. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -30C in some places. It has traveled as far as the Mediterranean coast and has picked up a few nicknames along the way. The UK has dubbed it “the Beast from the East, the Dutch are calling it the “Siberian Bear” and the Swedes, the “snow cannon”.

Unfortunately, it has not only resulted in cute names. At least ten people have died since Monday alone, some of those being vulnerable homeless. In all, at least five people have died in Poland, three confirmed in Lithuania, and two in Romania. An 83 year old woman was also found collapsed in the snow in Milan, Italy. All across Europe, the toll could be as high as 24.

Precautions are being taken. Shelters have been opened for the homeless, providing blankets and hot food. Belgian police are detaining people who refuse to go to shelters as well.

Thousands of people have had to change their plans because of the unexpected weather. Flights have been cancelled, trains have stopped running and roads have been closed. Hundreds of schools and businesses have shut their doors as it is too difficult for students and workers to get there. People are being asked to remain in their homes.

The Red Cross has asked people to check on their neighbours as “It could even be the difference between life and death.”

Conditions have been especially surprising in countries such as Spain and Italy. Rome, for example, has seen its first snowfall in six years. Naples has had it’s heaviest amount of snow in decades. Residents of Catalonia, Spain have been asked to avoid driving if possible.

One can only hope that spring is just around the corner.

Difficult words

Enveloped: To be submerged or covered

Dubbed: To give a nickname

Vulnerable: Something that can be easily attacked

Collapsed: To fall over

Precautions: To make sure something is safe.

Homeless: Something or someone without a home.

Detaining: To hold someone back.

Remain: To stay in one place

Avoid: To keep away from something

Just Around the Corner: Something happening very soon

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Enveloped A. Named
2. Dubbed B. Safety
3. Vulnerable C. Fall
4. Collapsed D. No home
5. Precautions E. Submerged
6. Homeless F. Hold in custody
7. Detaining G. Stay away
8. Remain H. Attackable
9. Avoid I. Stay

True or False?

1. Only two countries in Europe have been enveloped in snow. T / F

2. Temperatures have been as high as 30C.  T / F

3. The cold weather has traveled to the Mediterranean coast. T / F

4. All the countries have the same name for the weather. T / F

5. A young woman was found collapsed in the snow. T / F

6. The death toll is higher than 20. T / F

7. Many people have had to change their plans. T / F

8.  German police are detaining people who refuse to go to shelters. T / F

9.  The Red Cross has asked people to check on their neighbours. T / F

10. The Spanish government has said driving is completely safe right now.  T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. Europe / enveloped / has / and / The / of / majority / in / been / ice / snow

2. not / in / it / names / resulted / Unfortunately, / has / only / cute

3. An / the / collapsed / woman / found / also / in / year / snow / 83 / was / old

4. refuse / go / to / to / shelters / are / people / police / who / detaining / Belgian

5. in / Spain / been / surprising / and / countries / have / as / Italy / especially / such / Conditions

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Corner Remain Precautions
Dubbed Unexpected Majority
Collapsed Avoid Vulnerable

The ___________ of Europe has been enveloped in ice and snow. Temperatures have been recorded as low as -30C in some places. It has traveled as far as the Mediterranean coast and has picked up a few nicknames along the way. The UK has _________ it “the Beast from the East, the Dutch are calling it the “Siberian Bear” and the Swedes, the “snow cannon”.

Unfortunately, it has not only resulted in cute names. At least ten people have died since Monday alone, some of those being ______________ homeless. In all, at least five people have died in Poland, three confirmed in Lithuania, and two in Romania. An 83 year old woman was also found ______________ in the snow in Milan, Italy. All across Europe, the toll could be as high as 24.

______________ are being taken. Shelters have been opened for the homeless, providing blankets and hot food. Belgian police are detaining people who refuse to go to shelters as well.

Thousands of people have had to change their plans because of the ______________ weather. Flights have been cancelled, trains have stopped running and roads have been closed. Hundreds of schools and businesses have shut their doors as it is too difficult for students and workers to get there. People are being asked to __________ in their homes.

The Red Cross has asked people to check on their neighbours as “It could even be the difference between life and death.”

Conditions have been especially surprising in countries such as Spain and Italy. Rome, for example, has seen its first snowfall in six years. Naples has had it’s heaviest amount of snow in decades. Residents of Catalonia, Spain have been asked to _________ driving if possible.

One can only hope that spring is just around the _________.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Have you ever experienced extreme weather?
4. Does it snow in your country?
5. Do you know anyone in Europe?
6. Have you ever had trouble going somewhere because of the weather?
7. Do you regularly check the weather forecast?
8. What weather do you feel most comfortable in?
9. Does your country’s government do anything special when there is bad weather?
10. Do people in your country ever not go to work or school because of the weather?
11. Has a flight ever been cancelled for you?
12. Does your mood change in different weather?
13. What is your favourite season?
14. What kind of activities do you do when the weather makes you stay inside?
15. Do you think your country will have the same weather 100 years from now?
16. What do you think of global warming?
17. Should people try to prevent global warming?
18. What are the consequences of global warming?
19. Do you know the term “green”?
20. Does your country do anything to be “green”?