UK snow: Britons struggle after storms strike

  • 25 March 2013
  • From the section UK

Britons have told of their struggles to cope in the unseasonably cold weather and snow storms that have hit many parts of the UK since Friday.

Around 5,450 homes remain without power in Scotland and Northern Ireland after snow and strong winds damaged cables.

The Met Office has issued a weather alert that lasts until Friday.

There are fears of huge livestock losses for farmers, with thousands of sheep and cattle thought to be buried in the snow.

Thousands of Scottish homes are still without power, three days after losing supplies when two electricity pylons collapsed under the weight of ice and snow.

Around 3,500 homes on Kintyre and 1,500 on Arran are waiting to be reconnected, while a further 250 homes remain without electricity in Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway.

Although road routes on the south of Arran had opened up, the BBC's Colin Blane, at Blackwaterfoot, said: "It's very difficult to get over to the west side. We came through a road that really was like a canyon, the snow 8-10 feet high and room only for only one vehicle.

"They're used to this for a day or so, they're accustomed to having the ferry service interrupted by storms... but after four days without power, some of the laughs are beginning to turn to frowns."

In Northern Ireland, about 140,000 homes lost electricity at some point over the weekend, and about 200 households remained cut off on Monday.

A runner makes his way up a cleared road flanked by deep snow in Burnley, Lancashire, on 25 March 2013
Forecasters say there will be more bitterly cold temperatures this week

Derbyshire County Council has said snow that has hit parts of the county are the worst the area has experienced for 50 years.

Temperatures in March

In the county's Peak District, Laura Boddy said she had been cut off for the last two days.

"We certainly started running out of milk earlier on, and bread, but we managed to get out to a farm by walking over and through the drifts," she said.

"In fact at times we had to walk on top of walls because that was the only clear space we could get to. It's still very snowy, thankfully the wind has now died down a bit but there have been drifts that are seven or eight feet high."

In Cumbria, electricity supplies have now been restored to all areas, and many roads have reopened after the weekend's severe weather.

However, road access to the hamlet of Hall Waberthwaite, near Millom, were still blocked by drifts on Monday and one resident said their situation was "dire", with food in the 10 properties starting to run out.

One family who had been trapped in a hillside farm near Wrexham, north Wales, with their 16-month-old baby said they were forced to burn old furniture to keep warm.

Ben Massam, stranded without power at a farm at Bryneglwys, said they "had just got on with it" at first but had been cut off for three or four days.

"We had no power, no electric," he said. "It got to the point where I just thought... we needed to try to get him [the baby] out to reasonable safety."

The family were airlifted to hospital on Sunday by a helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey.

In its forecast, the Met Office issued an extension to its previous amber alert for "severe weather action".

It said there was a 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions between 08:00 GMT on Monday and 08:00 GMT on Friday in parts of England.

"Bitterly cold easterly winds will persist this week, bringing snow showers to north-east England and light snow flurries across other areas of England.

"With lying snow and partial snow melt during the daytimes, icy conditions are likely during the nights," it said.

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