Heavy snow hits roads, airports in Britain

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Parts of Britain were on Saturday blanketed in up to 35 centimetres (13 inches) of snow, causing air and road disruption, in the earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years.

Temperatures plunged as low as minus eight degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Scottish Highlands and minus seven degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) in central England overnight Friday and forecasters on Saturday issued severe weather warnings for Scotland and northwest England.

Luton airport, which serves London, reported delays Saturday, as did the English airports of Norwich, Newcastle and Durham-Tees Valley and the airport at Inverness in Scotland.

The airport on Jersey, in the Channel Islands, was briefly closed after lightning damaged its radar system.

Police warned drivers that snow and ice had created treacherous conditions, and in some areas told them not to use their cars at all unless absolutely necessary.

The heaviest snowfall fell on coastal regions in the north, but snow was also recorded in Wales and in the southwest of England.

Meteorologist Charles Powell, from the national Met Office, said: "Northumberland (in northeast England) has been the worst hit. There has been up to 35 cm snowfall inw some places. It has been coming down continuously."

Further heavy snow was due over the weekend in Scotland and northwest England, and forecasters said it could reach London next week.

© 2010 AFP

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