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Snow, coldtemps kill 13 in eastern Europe

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall killed at least 13 people in eastern Europe as Croatia endured its worst winter storm since 1955 and Romanians struggled to vote in parliamentary elections.

Seven people died in the Czech Republic during the weekend amid temperatures of as low as 4 below Fahrenheit. Four people died in Croatia and two in Serbia as the Balkan region saw as much as 43 inches of snowfall. Heavy snow in Romania hampered voters as Prime Minister Victor Ponta's ruling coalition won Sunday's general election.

Monday, dozens of trucks carrying goods to Europe were stranded on Bulgaria's border with Serbia as snow blocked roads in the neighboring Balkan country, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said on its website.

Serbia banned truck traffic during future snowfall "to avoid unforeseen traffic jams and similar consequences," the Transport Ministry said on its website.

A tow truck skidded off a road during the weekend, blocking the main highway between the capital, Belgrade, and the Hungarian border in the north and leaving people in their cars overnight in a 6-mile line.

Above-average snowfall cut electricity supplies across Romania, leaving about 90 towns without power amid falling temperatures, the Bucharest-based Economy Ministry said yesterday in an emailed statement.

In Slovenia, the state-owned agency that operates the country's highways and the police blamed each other for the chaos on one of the country's highways after trucks slid and blocked roads, leaving dozens of drivers stranded without food and water.

Montenegro reported 19 car accidents with nine people hurt as heavy snow and strong winds battered the smallest of the former Yugoslav nations, according to the automobile club's website. Two trucks plunged off a road in nearby Macedonia with no injuries reported, according to the Skopje-based Utrinski Vesnik newspaper.

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