Freezing Britain struggles to get moving

12:44, 03 February 2009
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Britain struggled to...

Britain struggled to return to normal Tuesday, a day after snow shut down large parts of the country, but forecasters predicted icy conditions and a continued freeze for several days to come, according to CNN.

 Though all of London`s airports were open, they advised passengers to expect delays or cancellations as they tried to clear the backlog of canceled flights from Monday. The three major airports in Scotland -- Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen -- issued similar warnings.

Express trains to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports in London were all running as normal Tuesday, airport operator BAA said.

Monday`s snowfall affected a swathe of eastern Britain from north to south, but the worst-affected areas were London and parts of southeast England, Britain`s Met Office weather service said.

Hundreds of schools remained closed around the country on Tuesday, forcing many parents to miss work to look after children at home.

The most snow was reported Monday in Epsom, southwest of London, with 31 centimeters (12.2 inches). London received 27 centimeters (10.6 inches), the Met office said.

 The lowest recorded temperature was in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, west of London, where it plummeted to minus 10.1C (13.8F), the Press Association reported.

Major roads in central London were largely clear of snow by Tuesday morning, but side roads were still covered in a sheet of slippery frozen snow.

London`s buses returned to service Tuesday. London transport authorities controversially pulled them from the streets Monday because of safety concerns.

 It was an improved picture on the Underground subway system, also known as the Tube. Most of the 11 lines were running Tuesday, though three lines were partially suspended, and one, the Circle Line, was not running at all, according to Transport for London.

For train commuters into London, however, the situation remained bleak. Most train operators said their operations were suspended Tuesday because of weather conditions

 The departures board at Victoria Station -- which was nearly blank Monday -- featured a few more trains Tuesday, employees at the station said.

No snow was forecast for London on Tuesday. Some wintry showers with possible hail and snow were predicted for Hampshire and Sussex, both on the south coast, the Met Office said.

"The risk this morning is actually from widespread ice," forecaster Dave Britton said. "The snow has moved away but (what remains) has started freezing overnight."

Britton said melting snow might freeze again Tuesday night and pose a further risk Wednesday morning. In the rest of the country snow continued to fall in the north and west.

 Criticism was directed at transport bosses in London for failing to keep the buses running. But Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy rejected suggestions that the transport authorities in London did not do enough. "It was the worst snowfall for two decades," he told PA.

"The local authorities deployed everything they had on Sunday night and Monday morning, but it just wasn`t enough for the circumstances.

The Federation of Small Businesses estimated that at least one in five workers nationwide -- about 6.4 million employees -- failed to make it into work Monday morning.

But the figure was estimated to be far higher -- around two in five -- in London and southeast England, which is home to around a fifth of all British businesses.

Monday`s disruptions are likely to cost businesses £1.2 billion ($1.7 billion), FSB spokesman Stephen Alambritis told CNN.


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