Snow chaos continues to gridlock UK

23rd Dec 2009
Snow chaos continues to gridlock UK

Temperatures lower than Alaska continue to plunge the UK into Christmas travel gridlock, with scores of flights from airports across the country cancelled, as well as mayhem on the roads and trains due to snow and ice.

At Heathrow, where temperatures overnight dropped to -5.3C, British Airways cancelled flights because of fog.

easyJet was forced to cancel at least 20 flights to and from the South-East, including eight at Gatwick, ten at Stansted and two at Luton.

The total rose to 36 flights when services at Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow were included.

Yesterday, the airline scrapped 180 flights because of the weather and more than 200 on Monday, stranding hundreds of passengers overnight at Luton.


A message on the easyJet website said: ‘We sincerely apologise for the disruption… but due to the current weather conditions, we have had to cancel some of our flights.’

There were also around 30 cancellations on Southern train services between London and the south coast this morning.

Eight people have died so far died due to the extreme weather. These include two women killed when their coach overturned on an icy road in Cornwall, as well as recovery trying to rescue a car that had crashed in a snowstorm on the M60 motorway.

Temperatures plunged to -16C overnight in Tulloch, Aberdeenshire - the coldest place in the UK - while the Hampshire village of Odiham recorded England’s lowest temperature of -9.6C.

But the Met Office was predicting more trouble to come. John Hammond, a forecaster, said: “There will be some thawing of the snow that we have got on the ground during the day but temperatures will then fall away again and melted snow will re-freeze. Ice is going to be the problem.”

There were also calls for Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, to return home from his skiing holiday in Austria. Bob Neill, the shadow local government minister, said: “He should be putting the problems of people in Britain’s communities first.”

The continuing freezing weather comes as 12 million drivers in the UK are expected to attempt to travel to family and friends for Christmas, staggered over today and tomorrow.

But many now face the prospect of not reaching their destinations in time for Christmas Day.


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