Records shatter as arctic weather grips Europe

Vienna's subway tracks cracked, German authorities shut a key canal to ships after it iced up and a zoo moved its penguins indoors Tuesday as a deadly deep freeze tightened its arctic grip on much of Europe.

The killer cold wave, which has been blamed for more than 50 deaths in Russia, claimed at least 13 lives over the past five days in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where authorities said another 30 people _ many of them homeless _ were hospitalized with hypothermia.

Romanian authorities reported 15 deaths of the past few days, five of them homeless people, after temperatures dropped as low as -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) in parts of the country.

Parts of Austria felt more like Siberia, with the mercury plunging well below zero on both Celsius and Fahrenheit thermometers. The bitter cold hit an all-time low of -31 degrees C (nearly -24 degrees F) in the Lower Austria town of Gross Gerungs, and it was the chilliest Jan. 24 since 1929 at -24.5 C (-12 F) in the beer-making town of Zwettl.

Vienna's subway system operator said morning rush-hour service was interrupted in some areas of the capital because the severe &to=' target=_blank>cold _ which hit a low of -18 C (-2 F) _ caused small tears in the welds on sections of track.

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