40,000 homes without power after blizzards
The blizzard began a week after the region saw a record high temperature for March.
Wed, Apr 04, 2012 at 05:52 AM
SNOWIER CONDITIONS: A woman clears the snow from a car in Westhill in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on April 3. (Photo: Scott Campbell/AFP)
Around 40,000 homes were without power on April 3 after blizzards swept across northeast England.
"The snow has brought down many power lines, especially on higher ground," said a spokesman for Northern Powergrid, which delivers power to nearly four million people in the region.
"The North York Moors, Northumberland and the Pennines are among the worst affected areas, along with Whitby, according to the calls we have had," he said.
Some major roads were still impassable in northern England after a dramatic change in the weather brought snow, ice and gale force winds to areas which had basked in warm spring sunshine a few days previously.
Some of the worst conditions were on the A66 Trans-Pennine route, where several drivers and two families had to be rescued from their cars, including one with a 20-month-old baby, regional daily the Northern Echo reported.
Police said the A66 and A68 were still closed, while across the Pennines the A537 in Cheshire was also badly affected by snow this morning.
Northern Powergrid on April 3 received reports of more than 200 faults and the spokesman said it is too early to say how long it will be before the last customers are brought back on line.
The Met Office has yellow alert severe weather warnings in place for large areas of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands, predicting as much as 15 cm (6 inches) of snow on higher ground.
"Rain is expected to turn to snow on high ground as colder air moves south across England and Wales during today," the Met Office said.
"Little, if any, snow is expected to accumulate on roads and pavements below 200m. The area of rain, sleet and snow will clear from the north during the day."
West Yorkshire Police said cars slipping amid wintry conditions led to a number of minor accidents on the M1 and M62.
The A57 Snake Pass, which links Sheffield and Manchester, was closed due to the snow, police said, while in North Yorkshire, snow drifts were said to be as deep as 3 feet (one metre) on routes across the North York Moors.
Three HGVs were stuck in snow on the B1248 near Wetwang, police added.
The severe weather began on April 3, when about 18 centimeters (seven inches) of snow fell in the Highlands, with temperatures sinking to minus 0.5 degrees Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit).
Only one week ago, temperatures rose to a record 23.6 C (74.5 F) at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, marking a new high in Scotland for the month of March.
Overall, this March was the warmest in Britain since 1957 and the third sunniest month in England since 1929, the Met Office said.
Copyright 2012 AFP European Edition