These photos show just how cold it is, from London to the beaches of southern France.

By Stacey Leasca
February 28, 2018

LONDON - On Wednesday morning, I awoke in Amsterdam well before the sun to catch a train back to London. As I stepped outside an icy rush of air whipped my face before I rushed into an awaiting cab.

It’s cold, I thought, but not terrible.

Then I boarded the train, fell asleep for what I thought was only a few minutes, awoke and looked out the window, and for one brief second thought I accidently took a train to Siberia. But no, it was just an incredibly cold and snowy London greeting me.

A couple ski on a snow-covered street in Biarritz, France, on Feb. 28, 2018.
| Credit: GAIZKA IROZ/AFP/Getty Images

The United Kingdom, along with a large swath of Europe, has been hit hard by what weather experts are calling “The Beast From The East.” The weather system, CNN reported, really did come down from Siberia, and quickly made temperatures plummet below freezing.

Westminster in the heavy snowfall, on Feb. 28, 2018.
| Credit: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

And the weather system isn’t done making us all freeze our butts off just yet. As the U.K. Met Office explained, the freezing winds that originated from northwest Russia will keep temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for days to come. More snow is also expected for Thursday and Friday across much of the U.K. It will be so cold that Scotland even issued its very first “red alert” as the weather is expected to become extremely treacherous over the coming days. With the alert, BBC reported, almost all transportation including trains, flights and bus services, have stopped.

Consider this: It’s so cold in some parts of the UK that it’s actually colder here than in the Arctic Circle right now. (The North Pole is experiencing something of a heat wave.)

“This spell of weather is the coldest parts of the country have seen since at least 2013, and there is the potential for disruptive snowfall in many parts throughout the week,” Met Office Chief Forecaster Laura Patterson said in a statement, CNN reported. “Transport disruption is likely in areas with significant snowfall and the cold could have an impact on people's health.”

Patterson said it is important for people to take the weather seriously. “With the weather so severe at the moment it is really important that everyone keeps up to date with the forecast and warnings in their area, check for local travel information and follow the advice of local authorities and emergency services,” she said.

Of course the U.K. isn’t alone in this frigid situation. The storm system is also wreaking havoc in Sweden, Germany, Spain, France, and beyond.

A man pulls his child along in a sledge at the Ondarreta beach in San Sebastian, northern Spain, after a heavy snowfall on Feb. 28, 2018.
| Credit: ANDER GILLENEA/Getty Images
The Tower of London.
| Credit: Victoria Jones - PA Images/Getty Images
The beach in San Sebastian, Spain, covered in snow.
| Credit: Jose Ignacio Unanue/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“We’ve had a number of accidents and cars skidding off the road, there are cars lying a bit everywhere,” Kenneth Emricsson, a spokesman for the Kalmar fire department in Sweden, told The Local. “I’ve worked here for 35 years, but I don’t think I’ve experienced anything so difficult before.”

Though the icy temperatures mean children, the elderly and any at-risk people should remain safely indoors, it didn’t stop some from bundling up and leaving their homes for a bit of winter fun.

A snow-covered road in Palavas-les-Flots, in the south of France, on Feb. 28, 2018.
| Credit: PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
An ice fisherman stands on the ice of a frozen harbor basin of the Elbe in Dresden, Germany, on Feb. 28, 2018
| Credit: SEBASTIAN KAHNERT/AFP/Getty Images

In San Sebastian, Spain a few people took to their skies to get around in the fresh powder:

And surfers still took the water in the northern Spanish town of Asturias.

While others went a more classic route and built snowmen in honor of the storm.

If you live in a “red alert” zone do not, under any circumstances, leave the safety of your home. But, if you’re in an area where you can bundle up and head outside maybe now is the perfect time for a snowball fight followed by a hearty hot cocoa.