23 Mar 2013

UK snow storms claim second victim

Wintery storms claim a second victim with a body found in deep snow in Lancashire, as the torrid weather continues to disrupt much of the country.

The body of the 27-year-old, who has not been named, was found by a farmer in Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancs, on Saturday afternoon.

Lancashire police said his death was not being treated as suspicious and there were indications it was a “very tragic incident”.

Last night emergency crews found a woman’s body after picking through the debris at a collapsed property in Looe, Cornwall.

As new snow warnings were issued for much of the UK, power lines remain down for 29,000 homes in Northern Ireland, with a further 1,000 homes without water supplies.

A further 6,000 homes in Scotland and scores in Northern England also suffered power cuts.

Airports have been forced to close their runways, with road closures hitting motorists. Some 70 people were stranded in their cars overnight in Cumbria.

In North Wales, the British Red Cross was brought in to help transport medical staff to hospitals in 4x4s after roads became impassable.

Weather warning

Sports fixtures were also called off in light of the continuing snow, which led the Met Office to issue a yellow weather warning for widespread parts of the country, urging people to be aware of adverse conditions.

The continuing storm in Northern Ireland forced the abandonment of its World Cup qualifying football match with Russia on Saturday.

Forecaster Chris Burton of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “Most places have seen some kind of snow, with the highest levels in the Peak District and the Pennines.

“Strong easterly winds have have been blowing the snow around on higher ground, causing snow drifts and reduced visibility. In some areas, snow is drifting in excess of a metre.”

The highest recorded snowfall so far was Bingley in West Yorkshire, which had 22cm (8.6 inches), but Mr Burton said some parts of north-east Wales were thought to have seen up to 30 cm (11.8 inches) of snow.

In lower-lying regions, up to 5cm (two inches) of snow was thought to have fallen.

“Temperatures will only be just above freezing during the day,” said Mr Burton. “There will be widespread frost overnight, with temperatures down to minus 3C.”

UK snow and weather latest (Image: Getty)

Aircraft grounded

Heavy snowfall forced the closure of runways at East Midlands Airport, with no aircraft able to fly in or out.

The total area of the airfield crews had to clear was equivalent to 87 football pitches, according to an airport spokesman.

Humberside Airport has been closed since 8am, with no flights landing or taking off at Leeds Bradford Airport either.

Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport closed for a short time, later reopening with limited service.

Cumbria Police are advising motorists not to travel in the south and west of the county unless absolutely necessary.

Snow drifting has closed many roads in the area, with others – including the M6 between Hackthorpe and Shap – only passable with care.

Coldest March

Another weather expert warned this month could be the coldest March in 50 years, dashing any hopes of spring.

Forecaster John Lee of MeteoGroup said the average temperature expected for central England at this time of year is 6C , but so far this month the average is 2.2 degrees below that – at 3.8C.

That is significantly colder than last March, when averages were 8.3C (46.9F) – 2.3 degrees above the expected average.

“Comparing it to similar winters, it’s provisionally going to be the coldest March in 50 years, although that can’t be confirmed until we reach the end of the month,” Mr Lee said.