UK suffers more chaos from spring snow

2013-03-23 19:01
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Heavy snow in Europe

Hundreds of passengers have been stranded, airports have been closed and the French army has been called in to clear roads as heavy snow battered parts of Europe.

London - Heavy unseasonal snow caused fresh disruption in Britain on Saturday, leaving tens of thousands of homes without power, shutting airports and causing an international football match to be called off.

The country should be marking the start of spring but in what the British media have dubbed "Miserable March", wintry storms have instead lashed the country, leaving one person dead on Friday.

Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and north Wales bore the brunt of the cold with 22cm of snow in Bingley, West Yorkshire, although snow fell in the capital London too.

Snowfall forced the closure for at least part of the day of East Midlands Airport in Derby, central England, and of Leeds Bradford Airport, Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport and Humberside Airport in northern England.

Train services were disrupted in parts of northwest England.

More than 35 000 homes in Northern Ireland, 6 000 homes in Scotland and hundreds in northern England were left without electricity for a second day after power lines snapped, operators said.

Sporting fixtures affected

Water supplies were also being disrupted due to problems with pumps, the NI Water supply company said.

In the northwestern county of Cumbria, 70 stranded drivers stayed overnight at a local school while others who were stuck in their cars slept in local hotels, police said.

Sporting fixtures also fell foul of the weather.

Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Russia, which had been rescheduled from Friday for a Saturday afternoon kick-off, was called off as the pitch at Windsor Park was unplayable, the Irish FA confirmed.

Several English and Scottish football league matches were also called off as well as horseracing at Doncaster and Newbury.

The bad weather claimed the life of a woman in her 60s on Friday when a landslide triggered by heavy rain smashed through an apartment block in Cornwall, southwest England.

Unusually long cold spell

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing and waste disposal site in Cumbria briefly shut down on Friday due to the adverse conditions but later partially reopened.

The Met Office national weather service said that while it was not uncommon to see snow in March, the cold spell has been unusually long.

Spring officially started on Wednesday but while the average temperature in England for March is 6°C, so far it has been 3.8°C, forecasters say.

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