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UK snow causes travel chaos and energy scares


Snow blanketed London and large parts of the UK on Monday, closing schools, grounding flights and causing widespread disruption in a country battling a winter energy crisis.

Britain recorded the coldest day of the year in the early hours of Monday morning, with temperatures as low as minus 15.7 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) in northern Scotland, according to the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service.

The cold spell left many parts of the country, including London, covered in snow from Sunday evening. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for parts of the country.

Motorists have been told to avoid driving in several places, with some forced to abandon their cars. Many schools have been closed. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, which all serve the capital, have warned of flight delays and cancellations.

Despite the disruption, the arrival of snow two weeks before Christmas brought a festive atmosphere to parks and streets across Britain.

Snowfall is relatively rare in southern England compared to northern Britain and mainland Europe, and Britons frequently complain that the country’s infrastructure is unprepared when cold weather hits.

Inflation and the energy crisis have added to concerns this year, as household bills have soared and people worry about whether they can afford to heat their homes.

Westminster was among the parts of London covered in snow.

National Grid, which runs much of the UK’s energy supply infrastructure, has ordered two coal-fired power stations to start warming up, in case cold weather threatens the country’s power grid, the report said. British news agency PA Media.

The company said it was an “emergency” plan, which was intended to “give public confidence in Monday’s energy supply”, according to PA.

Some parts of the country have advised motorists to avoid making journeys unless they are essential.

Sunday’s snow dump came after several days of freezing cold weather which had already caused tragedy in Solihull, central England.

West Midlands Police said three boys, aged 8, 10 and 11, died in hospital after falling into a lake on Sunday afternoon. A fourth boy, aged six, remains in critical condition.

“The search in the lake continues as we seek to establish exactly what happened and if anyone else fell in the water,” police said in a statement on Monday.

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