At least 55 people died in the blizzards that have lashed Europe this week, AFP reported on Thursday.

The blizzard from Siberia, dubbed the “Beast from the East”, is causing temperatures in Europe to plunge far below normal levels for this time of the year. The weather system is bringing snow, strong winds and the coldest temperatures in years to many regions across the continent.

In Poland, at least 21 people – mostly homeless – died, and seven died in Slovakia. Six people died in the Czech Republic, five in Lithuania, four in France, three in Spain, two each in Italy, Serbia, Romania and Slovenia, and one each in Britain and the Netherlands.

Roads were blocked, dozens of flight cancelled or delayed, and schools stayed shut in most European cities and towns.

In the United Kingdom, Storm Emma is set to make conditions worse on Friday, with some areas bracing for up to 50 cm of snow, the BBC reported. The military has been called in to rescue drivers stranded for several hours on major highways across the country. The weather department has forecast similar conditions till Monday.