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UK snow: Bad weather hits air, rail and sea travel

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A quarter of flights at Heathrow have been cancelled and the Port of Calais has been closed as bad weather continues to affect parts of the UK.Drivers have been warned of “treacherous” conditions after snow turned to ice, while rail travel across England and Wales has been affected.The wintry conditions also forced hundreds of schools to close on Monday.More than 140,000 homes lost power on Sunday amid heavy snow and high winds, and several thousand remain cut off.Temperatures dropped to -12C (10F) overnight in Chillingham Barns in Northumberland. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings of snow and ice for Wales, Northern Ireland, parts of Scotland, the Midlands and south east of England, which continue into Tuesday. There is a risk of up to 5cm (2in) of additional snow on higher ground in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire, but it is not expected to settle at lower levels. BBC weather forecaster Steve Cleaton said hazardous conditions would continue in the coming days, although snowfall would be less than that seen at the weekend.”A perishingly cold night is expected as we move through Monday evening into Tuesday, with another widespread and severe frost, and temperatures plummeting to below -10C across any snowfields,” he said. The RAC has predicted 11,000 breakdowns on Monday, which is 20% higher than the seasonal norm. This follows the AA reporting a 40% increase in call-outs on Sunday after up to 30cm of snow coated parts of the country.

AA president Edmund King said he witnessed numerous crashes on Sunday as drivers were “caught out” by the icy conditions. “Drivers do need to adjust more to the conditions by slowing down and keeping a good distance,” he said. “Winter tyres also help drivers to keep a grip.””Journeys will take two to three times longer. It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions,” Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, added.

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National Rail said travellers should check with their train operators before heading out.Chiltern Railways, the Cross Country network, Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains and the West Midlands rail network are all affected. In Calais, hundreds of Eurotunnel passengers faced a cold wait as services to the UK were delayed overnight. The company said the wait was five hours, but some on social media said they had waited much longer.Eurotunnel says services are now back to normal, although weather conditions remain “very challenging”.P&O Ferries is reporting delays on some sailings of up to 90 minutes due to bad weather and the knock-on effect of yesterday’s grounding of a ship in Calais.Trouble rebookingAirports have also been affected, with dozens of flights cancelled from Heathrow on Monday after crews and aircraft were left out of position by Sunday’s problems.The trouble at Heathrow has led to dozens of knock-on cancellations in Scotland, Cardiff and Belfast.Passengers are being advised to check their flight’s status before they set off for the airport.Snow in Europe triggers transport chaos
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Travel expert Simon Calder said 50,000 British Airways (BA) passengers had been stranded at airports in the UK and around the world.BA said additional staff were re-booking customers onto the next available flights and offering hotel accommodation.But Twitter user Emma Hawkins said that – 20 hours after her cancelled flight – she was unable to rebook through the company’s website and phone lines “are just [a] recorded message that hangs up on you”. Meanwhile, thousands of homes were left without power after being hit by the weather. Western Power Distribution said 99,500 customers were cut off on Sunday across the East Midlands, South Wales and the South West. By Monday morning, 6,500 homes were still without power.Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks also said they had brought power back to 48,000 homes, but 800 remained cut off in Oxford and Wiltshire on Monday.
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More than 400 schools are closed in Wales, and in Birmingham, the city council has shut all of its local authority-run schools.Buckinghamshire County Council and Shropshire Council said the majority of their schools will shut down, 250 are closed in Gloucestershire, and there are widespread closures in Denbighshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

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Source: BBC Black Country