Britain shivers as temperatures drop to -21C

Thousands of homes across southern England remained without electricity after fallen trees and heavy snowfall affected power lines.

Britain shivers as temperatures drop to -21C
Temperatures in parts of Britain plummeted to below minus 21 C overnight, with forecasters predicting no let up in the cold snap as widespread icy conditions continued to cause disruption on Friday.

Severe weather warnings remained in place for much of the country with ice and sub zero temperatures making for treacherous driving conditions and further heavy snow forecast in some areas.

"All in all quite a cold night again, everywhere across the UK was below zero," said Met Office forecaster Charles Powell.

"As a result most people are waking up again to widespread ice across the whole country, so it is going to be a major problem for transport."

Temperatures hit a low of minus 21.1 C in northern Scotland overnight, with minus 11 C recorded in Northern Ireland, minus 16.4 C near Manchester in England, and minus 14.5 C the low in Wales.

Forecasters expect Friday to be mostly dry and bright across Scotland, western England and Wales, although temperatures will remain very cold. Up to 5 cm of snow is predicted across north east England, East Anglia and the east coast.

"It looks set to continue certainly for the next week to week and a half," said Powell. "There is no respite, no significant increase in temperatures."

Thousands of schools across the country remain closed, threatening to impact next week's GCSE and A-level exams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if they are unable to reopen amid the continuing cold snap.

National Grid said it had asked gas suppliers to tell large industrial users on interruptible contracts, who pay less for their gas on the condition their supply will be interrupted at times of shortage, to stop using gas because of high demand.

On Thursday it issued a warning over gas supplies as the cold weather pushed demand to record high levels at a time when disruptions to the biggest North Sea gas field hit supply.

Meanwhile thousands of homes across southern England remained without electricity after fallen trees and heavy snowfall affected power lines.

Train routes across many parts of the country were disrupted by ice and snow on Friday, with rail operators First Great Western, Northern Rail, Virgin Trains, South West Trains and First Capital Connect among those announcing delays and cancellations to services.

Eurostar said it would be running a restricted service on Friday and over the weekend due to the severe weather conditions, and asked passengers to cancel or postpone their trips where possible.

Major airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick remained open, but delays and cancellations to flights continued with operators advising passengers to check with their airlines before travelling to the airport.


Reuters


Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2010, 15:34
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