Britain shivers after earliest November snow for 17 years

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Britain's earliest widespread snowfalls in November for 17 years caused disruption in Scotland and eastern England on Friday and forecasters warned they could spread south.

More than 150 schools in northeast Scotland were closed or partially closed due to heavy snow overnight and black ice on the roads, while parts of eastern England were covered by up to six inches (15 centimetres) of snow.

A plane carrying almost 200 holidaymakers back from the Canary Islands skidded off the runway at Newcastle airport in northeast England, but no one was injured.

With forecasters predicting the cold spell could last for two weeks, there were fears that FA Cup football matches scheduled for Saturday could be affected.

But Saturday's England v South Africa rugby union Test match will go ahead at Twickenham despite the possibility of sub-zero temperatures, officials said.

The Meteorological Office issued severe weather warnings for icy roads and heavy snow across large areas of England as well as parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

© 2010 AFP

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