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The Latest: Coldest temperatures of the winter hit Moscow

ROME (AP) – The Latest on cold weather and snow across Europe (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

Temperatures in Moscow have dropped to this winter’s low despite the approaching spring.

Two women take a selfie in front of the ancient Colosseum during a snowfall, early Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP)

The Meteorological Office said on Monday the mercury in the Russian capital dropped to nearly minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday night, the coldest night this winter.

Meteorologists are forecasting unusually low temperatures for early March. Roman Vilfand, chief of the Russian Meteorological Office, told the Interfax news agency that Muscovites should brace themselves for frosty weather in early March and could only “count on the warmth of the soul,” not higher temperatures outside.

Moscow earlier this month saw what has been described as the strongest snowfall on record when more than a month’s average of snow fell on the city, turning streets and yards into snowdrifts.

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9:20 a.m.

Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services.

Rome’s Mediterranean climate and proximity to the sea usually result in mild winters, such that restaurants often keep outdoor seating open even through the coldest months of the year. As a result, the Monday morning snowfall, though not huge in quantity, brought excited young Romans out for a rare snowball fight or walk in the slush.

Mayor Virginia Raggi signed an ordinance Sunday evening closing public schools as a precaution, and many private ones followed suit.

Elsewhere in much of northern and central Italy, the storm also closed schools and disrupted transport.

People walk along a snow-covered beach in Ostia, near Rome, after a snowfall, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services. (Eugenio Greco/ANSA via AP)

People walk along a snow-covered beach in Ostia, near Rome, after a snowfall, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services. (Eugenio Greco/ANSA via AP)

A man stands in front of the ancient Colosseum blanketed by the snow in Rome, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A man stands in front of the ancient Colosseum blanketed by the snow in Rome, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Shawn Roser, from Venice, Florida, a student at the North American college in Rome, throws a snowball as he plays in a snow blanketed St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Shawn Roser, from Venice, Florida, a student at the North American college in Rome, throws a snowball as he plays in a snow blanketed St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Shawn Roser, from Venice, Florida, a student at the North American college in Rome, throws a snowball as he plays in a snow blanketed St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Shawn Roser, from Venice, Florida, a student at the North American college in Rome, throws a snowball as he plays in a snow blanketed St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A view of Rome's snow-capped skyline, with the Monument of the Unknown Soldier seen at right, after a snowfall, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A view of Rome’s snow-capped skyline, with the Monument of the Unknown Soldier seen at right, after a snowfall, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People walk along the ancient Colosseum blanketed by the snow in Rome, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People walk along the ancient Colosseum blanketed by the snow in Rome, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

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