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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Travel misery for commuters and holidaymakers as Arctic Britain wakes to blanket of snow


Early hours snow: A north-west London street at 1:30am this morning

Dozens of cancellations and severe delays at London City Airport

AA responds to 20,000 calls on Monday with similar number expected today

Temperatures in north-west Highlands fall to -15C

Snow showers swept across almost all of Britain today as bitter easterly winds continued to bring Arctic conditions to the country and risked chaos for road, rail and air passengers.

Almost every corner of the UK woke up to between 0.8in (2cm) and 4in (10cm) of snow this morning, with the east coast worst hit by flurries and sub-zero temperatures.

The AA responded to more than 20,000 breakdowns yesterday, but warned today could rival it, while air and rail travellers also face disruption to their journeys.

Speeding through the snow: A train battles the weather at Tring station

Feeling the chill: The village of Edlington near Alnwick, Northumberland

Though Edinburgh Airport reopened after an overnight closure, London City Airport was reporting cancellations and severe delays.

Britain's railways were also affected by the severe weather conditions, with some services not operating and others facing long delays.

Kent commuters were badly hit, as buses replaced rail service between Ramsgate and Dover via Deal, as well as on the Tonbrige-Tunbridge Wells route.

Fancy a dip? Residents walked along Tynemouth beach in North Shields as more snow fell overnight

With most of Britain waking up to a chilly morning, the cold blast from the North Sea was expected to continue to batter eastern areas throughout the day, even bringing snow to London and the South East.

Severe weather warnings were issued by the Met Office for almost all regions with London, the South East, the East of England, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the North East, North West and Wales all on alert for heavy snow well into the morning.

Grampian, Strathclyde, Tayside and Fife, south-west Scotland, Lothian and Northern Ireland were all warned to expect widespread icy roads.

Snow ploughs try to clear part of the runway at Edinburgh airport yesterday. Britain's big chill is set to intensify and spread this week with stronger winds, severe frosts and more heavy snow, forecasters said

Slowly does it: Cars drive on snow-covered roads in Newcastle

Temperatures in the north-west Highlands dropped to minus 15C (5F) last night, with the Met Office warning the mercury will barely rise above 0C (32F) for the rest of the day.

Met Office forecaster Tom Morgan said: 'Overnight, we’ve had some outbreaks of snow and a lot of the country has seen some snow showers with accumulations of 2.5cm (1in) in the South East and East of England.

'Temperatures today are going to be very cold and we’re looking at 1C (33.8F) to 2C (35.6F) with a very strong north-easterly wind.

Dig deep: A man shovels snow off his car in Newcastle

A church spire and trees are covered by heavy snowfall in Gateshead

'In towns or cities, we’re looking at minus 2C (28.4F) to minus 4C (24.8F) tonight, dropping to minus 6C (21.2F) or minus 8C (17.6F) in less sheltered parts.'

Mr Morgan added: 'The worst-affected areas will be eastern parts of the country and perhaps Kent and Essex and the North East.

'In terms of this week, the cold spell is going to continue but will be less widespread as we go through the week.'

The A1 in Newcastle this morning, which was temporarily closed between Berwick and Edinburgh as heavy snowfall continued to cause travel chaos

Yesterday, thousands of motorists were hit by one of the worst days on Britain’s roads, flights were cancelled and hundreds of schools were forced to close.

An AA spokesman warned motorists to prepare for the worst on the roads today due to the increased likelihood of breakdowns or disruptions.

‘I think there is that mindset where people think, “It is not going to happen to me, I am not going to get stuck”,' he said.

‘They forget that if there is a breakdown or an accident they have to get to a place of safety.

‘We have had call-outs to a lot of shunts where people slide into the car in front of them. It is really vitally important that people wrap up warm,’ he added.

Edinburgh Airport reopened this morning after closing at 6.15pm last night but a number of flights arriving and departing from the snow-stricken transport hub faced disruption.

With snow spreading to the London suburbs for the first time during this cold spell, services on London Overground between London and Watford Junction in Hertfordshire were delayed.

Sweeping up: A man clears the snow from the footpath beside a beggar on Harcourt street, in Dublin, Ireland

The bad conditions also led to disruption to all East Coast Main Line services, particularly in Scotland and the North of England.

The East Coast train company had to introduce a revised timetable which included an hourly service between Edinburgh and London and reduced London-Leeds and reduced London to Newcastle-upon-Tyne services.

A number of ScotRail services were unable to run including Dalmuir to Springburn, Dalmuir to Larkhall, Motherwell to Cumbernauld and Edinburgh to Dunbar.

On the roads, a series of accidents on main roads led to road closures.
Part of the A66 in Cumbria was shut as was a section of the A57 in Greater Manchester and part of the A49 in Shropshire.

The cold snap is expected to last until at least the end of the week, with overnight temperatures in parts of Scotland likely to plunge to minus 20c before Saturday.

The coldest overnight temperature in the UK was minus 16c, recorded in Altnaharra in northern Scotland.

The UK’s lowest recorded temperature in November was minus 23.3C at Braemar, in the Highlands, on November 14, 1919.

Winter wonderland: Snow falls on fir trees and an empty road near Stirling

source: dailymail

Travel misery for commuters and holidaymakers as Arctic Britain wakes to blanket of snow Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: andre tupang
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