Landslip body found as weather bites
- 22 March 2013
- From the section UK
Heavy snow is causing disruption to transport across the UK, with heavy rainfall bringing flooding to the south-west of England.
Rescuers searching for a woman trapped in a landslide at her home in Looe, Cornwall, said they had found a body.
Over 200,000 Belfast customers were affected by a blackout but power is starting to be restored.
Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier with Russia has been postponed until 15:00 GMT Saturday due to heavy snow.
This comes just over a week before the start of British Summer Time.
BBC forecasters said the snow would cause travel disruption across northern parts of the UK on Friday, with some 20cm-40cm (8in-16in) falling in places. Atrocious conditions could be expected on high ground, they said.
Roads in northern parts of Wales, the Midlands into the Pennines, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland would be the worst affected, while gale force winds would blow snow and drifts across trans-Pennine routes, they added.
In other developments:
- The Sellafield nuclear waste site in Cumbria has reopened after shutting its plants as a precaution earlier today due to high winds and snow
- In North Wales people are advised not to use rail services on the coastline between Chester and Holyhead, due to severe disruption and cancellation of services. Nearly 200 schools and scores of roads have been closed due to snow and high winds. Up to 600 homes are without power
- In Scotland, 10,000 homes in Argyll have been without electricity, including the whole of Arran. Heavy snow in Dumfries and Galloway is causing hazardous driving conditions
- In Northern Ireland, 200,000 Belfast customers were hit by a blackout on Friday evening due to an electrical fault. A total of 110,000 properties lost power overnight - currently 43,000 homes and businesses are without electricity due to storm force winds and snow, and 82 schools are closed. The runway at George Best Belfast City Airport has been closed for a second time for snow clearing and de-icing
- More than 1,000 homes are without electricity in Cumbria after heavy snow and high winds brought power lines down
- Some 700 homes on the Isle of Man have been left without electricity after high winds brought down a number of power cables. The Co-op, which has 10 stores on the island, is airlifting 18 tonnes of food supplies
- Areas of Devon, including Ashburton, were also affected while, in two separate incidents in Plymstock, people were rescued by fire crews after being stuck in their cars in flood water
- Heavy rain in Oxfordshire has led to the cancellation of the popular World Pooh Sticks competition. Organisers hope to reschedule for later in the summer.
- The government denied reports suggesting the unusual cold weather could lead to the UK running out of gas within days
- Leeds Bradford Airport has reopened after flights were earlier grounded due to snow, but delays are expected
Meanwhile, flooding is affecting parts of southern Cornwall and Devon, with some areas predicted to see 50-75mm of rain falling in a 24 to 48-hour period.
In Looe, Cornwall, torrential overnight rain caused the partial collapse of a house, converted into flats. Specialist search teams, including one using a sniffer dog, arrived at Veronica Flats in Sandplace Road, to search for a missing woman. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service later said they had found a body.
The Met Office has one amber warning, which means "be prepared," for heavy rain in south-west England.
Parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have amber warnings for snow in place.
Heavy snow is expected to continue into the night and Saturday across central swathes of the country, with a risk of snowfall hitting the Home Counties and north of London.
Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association's economy and transport board, urged people to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they were all right during the extreme weather.
As well as setting flood warnings, which mean "flooding is expected, immediate action required", in the South West, the Environment Agency also has around 90 flood alerts, meaning "flooding is possible, be prepared", across England.
Environment Agency spokesman Ben Johnstone said: "We strongly urge people to sign up to flood warnings on the Environment Agency website, keep a close eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared for possible flooding."
People should not try to wade or drive through any deep water, he added.
AA head of operations Darron Burness, meanwhile, has warned of "a real witches' brew of driving wind, rain and snow" for drivers across the UK.
"Drivers should be well prepared as even short journeys can quickly turn bad," he said.
"Wherever you're going, take plenty of warm layers, check the travel reports before heading out and stick to the main roads where possible."