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Mass disruption after ‘extreme freeze’ hits the U.K.


Snow and icy conditions are set to cause further disruptions across the United Kingdom after the deepest "extreme freeze" in a decade hit the country, causing mass cancelations of classes, businesses, and travel services. On Thursday, February 11, 2021, the country has recorded its coldest night in more than 25 years as the mercury dropped to nearly -23 °C (-9.4 °F) in northern Scotland.

About 70 schools were shut across the UK, while many businesses and travel services were canceled or delayed as snow blanketed the country during the storm's onslaught. According to local media, it was believed to be the deepest "extreme freeze" for a decade.

On Wednesday, February 10, roads as far south as Kent were impassable due to a thick sheet of ice, while the M20 was closed in both directions. In southeast England, the icy conditions caused mass disruption of rail services.

No replacement transport was available as many routes were closed. Treacherous driving conditions had also caused a number of accidents, according to authorities. 

"Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections," warned Dr. Owen Landeg of Public Health England as a cold weather alert was issued for the whole country earlier this week. 

On Thursday, the Met Office recorded -22.9 °C (9.2 °F) in Braemer in the Scottish Highlands, making it provisionally the coldest night since December 30, 1995, when temperatures dipped to -27.2 °C (-16.9 °F).

Meteorologists forecast more snow and disruptions across the country, as well as record cold. The Met Office has so far issued four national severe weather warnings, but further warnings are possible throughout the week. 

On Tuesday, February 9, Altanharra in the Scottish Highlands registered -16.7 °C (1.9 °F), marking the UK's coldest night since December 2010, the Met Office confirmed.

Dubbed as the "Beast from the East 2", the cold snap brought more than 2 m (6 feet) of snow to the area, leaving farmers in distress as they had to plow over the snow. Ramage Contractors headed out in tractors to clear roads following some blizzards.

"With cold air across all of the UK, any precipitation will fall as snow. Snow showers will continue to feed into eastern parts through the week," said Steve Ramsdale, chief meteorologist at Met Office.

Overnight temperatures will remain low throughout the week, with about -10 °C (14 °F) expected as far south as East Anglia. Strong winds and wind chill will make it feel much colder, added Ramsdale.

Featured image credit: Paul Jackson

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  1. So much for global warming huh? tsk tsk

    In South Africa we are getting loads of rain now, which is something unusual and colder already at this time of the year (summer!)

    We are heading into an ice age and have been for some time – the cycle of the sun has changed… Everything has a cycle!

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