– Colorado Becomes Country’s Cold Spot (ABC News)
– South struggles with record-setting freeze (USA Today)
– Airport chaos as icy weather grips northern Europe (BBC News)
With the UK being hit hard:
The death toll from Britain’s biggest freeze for decades reached 22 today as the country prepared for its coldest night so far, bringing the promise of even more treacherous conditions.
The UK faces the possibility of gas supply crisis as the worst cold season in 30 years hit the country.
– UK’s only got enough gas to last eight days, say Tories (Daily Mail)
– U.K. Gas Market No Laughing Matter (Wall Street Journal)
– UK’s only got enough gas to last eight days, say Tories (Daily Mail)
As a sidenote: Met Office chief receives 25 pc pay rise (Telegraph):
The head of the Met Office, the national weather service which has been heavily criticised for getting its forecasts wrong, is now paid more than the Prime Minister, after receiving a 25 per cent pay rise.
– Chinese cities not ready for harsh winter (Xinhua)
– China tells factories to cut power use amid cold (BusinessWeek)
Cold wave in India:
– Cold waves in northern India claim 195 lives (Indian Express)
Army rescues 1,000 drivers stranded in cars for 12 HOURS as UK is paralysed by heavy snow
Up to 1,000 stranded motorists had to be rescued by the Army today after some of the heaviest snowfalls in 20 years left drivers trapped in their cars overnight.
Among those stranded without food and water on the A3 in Hampshire was a heavily-pregnant woman and her baby daughter.
Millions of people across Britain were unable to get to work this morning as snowstorms caused massive disruptions on the roads and railways.
Thousands of schools remain closed, while major airports have been forced to ground flights as snow ploughs try desperately to clear runways of snow and ice.
More than 16 inches (40cm) of snow has fallen in the hills of north east England and the Scottish borders, while 12 inches (30.5cm) was recorded in Berkshire. Parts of the Northern Highlands recorded 18.5 inches (47cm).
The Met Office said southern England could see another six inches (15cm) this afternoon, with the ‘treacherous’ weather lasting for up to ten more days.
The Army, drafted in to save 1,000 drivers stranded on the A3, used military trucks and Land Rovers to rescue those trapped in a ten-mile jam on the trunk road at Waterlooville.
But some of the trapped motorists claimed they received no help at all and that ‘no one knew what was going on’.
Carla Holt said she and her 13-month-old daughter Lily-May were stuck for 12 hours in the freezing conditions. She said she received no support from the police overnight and was only able to leave the road when it was partially cleared at 6.30am today.
The 23-year-old said: ‘We went through hell. I am eight months pregnant, I couldn’t go to the toilet all night, I couldn’t warm the bottle up for my baby daughter. It was very frightening.
‘There were loads of cars parked up, just on the motorway. No-one knew what was going on – there was no-one to help.
‘We didn’t see any police, we’ve heard that the Army is out but we didn’t see anyone – it’s not very good really.”
She had set off for Heathrow Airport in West Sussex at 5.30pm yesterday and didn’t arrive until 8am today.
Ms Holt’s father, Mark, attempted to reach his daughter but was prevented from driving up the A3 beause it had been closed because of the weather.
He said: ‘It took my daughter 15 hours to get home and no-one came to help her, they didn’t see anyone.’
Another stranded motorist, named only as Clive, had been trying to travel from Guildford to Locks Heath.
He told BBC Radio Solent that he had been stuck in his car overnight.
‘There must be hundreds and hundreds of cars stuck,’ he said. ‘People have been just turning their engines off and falling asleep.
‘I just pulled a couple of jackets over me and tried to sleep. The worst thing was no-one knew what was going on.’
Other motorists who were rescued took refuge in hotels close to the dual carriageway and Hampshire County Council set up a series of rest centres, which were manned by St John’s Ambulance volunteers.
Military personnel from Thorney Island, near Emsworth, Southwick Park, near Portsmouth, and Aldershot were involved in the operation.
The coldest places in Britain last night were Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, where temperatures dropped to -13C (9F) and Marham, Norfolk, where the mercury dropped to -10.3C (14F), according to forecasters Meteogroup.
The Met Office said its weather station at Odiham, Hampshire, had recorded nine-and-a-half inches (24cm) of snow by 7am this morning. A spokesman said snow was still falling there and was likely to continue until lunchtime, boosting the depth to as much as 12in (30cm).
A spokesman for West Berkshire Council said nearly 12 inches (30cm) had fallen near Reading today, while the Scottish ski resort of Aviemore has had nearly 19in (48cm).
A spokesman for the Met Office said this morning that parts of the South could see another 15cm of snow falling today, with 5-10cm expected in London.
He warned that as night falls the skies will clear and plunging temperatures would lead to ‘treacherous’ icy conditions.
‘We are looking at temperatures of -2C in London with parts of England and Wales falling to -8C or -9C,’ he said.
‘It’s going to be treacherous, with widespread ice. There will be no let up in the cold weather for the next ten days.’
Sleet or snow will continue in the far South East tomorrow, with further wintry showers spreading to eastern England and Scotland.
A woman was killed on the A1 in North Yorkshire this morning after she was struck by a lorry on the snowy dual carriageway. The road was closed for hours after the collision at around 2.30am near Catterick Garrison. The woman is said to live locally and police have yet to release her identity.
An elderly man died after his Morris Minor spun out of control on an icy road in Titchfield, Hampshire yesterday evening.
In Oxford, a six-year-old boy is fighting for his life in hospital after falling though an icy pond at his home. Thomas Hudson is thought to have been trapped in the water for as long as half an hour.
In Preston, Lancashire, a 10-year-old girl had a miraculous escape after a car skidded on ice and flew over her head, missing her by inches.
Emilie Pease was playing in the snow on her drive when the Vauxhall Vectra collided with a wall, flipped into the air and landed next to her last night.
The car then pushed over a neighbour’s Nissan Micra before coming to a halt on its side inches from the front window. Another car then collided with the Vauxhall.
And in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, an eight-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital for a life-saving kidney transplant after the family’s car got stuck in snow.
His parents had received a call in the early hours of this morning informing them that a suitable organ had been found, but they were forced to call police after their journey was halted by the treacherous weather.
The air ambulance landed in a nearby field at 9.15am today and the boy was whisked away for his crucial operation. He arrived at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, seven minutes later and was immediately prepped for theatre.
Millions have been caught up in chaos across the UK in what is now the longest cold spell since 1981. Forecasters have warned that the freeze could go on for at least another week, making it the worst for a century.
Police across the UK are warning people not to drive unless their journeys are essential.
Several forces have also expressed concerns about people phoning the emergency services regarding snowball incidents.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Police is urging residents to only dial 999 in a real emergency.
‘Historically, a large proportion of calls received have been in connection with snowballing incidents which is clearly an avoidable demand on our resources and can easily be avoided with the use of common sense,’ he said.
Tempers flared and a man was arrested after passengers at a UK airport were prevented from leaving a grounded plane.
Travellers were kept on the plane for two-and-a-half hours because the icy apron was too dangerous to walk on.
The flight from Spain had been due to land at Leeds-Bradford Airport last night but had been diverted to Durham Tees Valley Airport.
A 39-year-old from Hartlepool was arrested on suspicion of using threatening behaviour on an aircraft.
A Durham Police spokesman said: ‘The arrested man’s concerns were genuine, but his behaviour was unacceptable.
‘He was interviewed and given a caution.’
With customers using gas at near-record levels, the National Grid yesterday issued a red alert that demand was outstripping supply. But extra supplies pumped in from Belgium and Norway eased the situation.
Gordon Brown denied the country was facing a gas supply crisis, insisting: ‘I think Britain can deal with these problems. There are always difficulties when we have a long spell of bad weather. But we can cope.’
Councils are struggling to keep roads open today with some reduced to ‘borrowing’ salt and grit from their neighbours.
The mine which supplies road salt for most of the UK is working overtime, but there are fears that lorries delivering supplies would be caught up in the chaos on the roads.
There are also concerns today about the impact of the big freeze on the economy. The Trades Union Congress is urging managers to let their staff work from home wherever possible rather than struggle into work in dangerous conditions.
Business groups have warned that the cost of absenteeism to the economy because of this week’s snowfalls could reach £2 billion.
The Federation of Small Businesses estimated that about ten per cent of the 30-million strong workforce was unable to get in yesterday, costing the economy an estimated £600 million alone.
Travellers are facing major disruption on many flights from airports across Britain.
The runway at one of the biggest airports – Gatwick in West Sussex – remains closed this morning with more than 80 flights cancelled.
Cardiff Airport is currently shut, while Heathrow, Birmingham, Luton, Southampton, Glasgow and Leeds Bradford International are open but subject to delays and some cancellations.
Both Bristol airport and Exeter remained shut this morning with management due to review the situation later today.
Staff at Manchester and Liverpool airports were working to return to normal after heavy snow forced them to close temporarily yesterday, but Manchester was forced to cancel a number of flights including to Dublin, Frankfurt and Brussels.
This morning, Budget airline easyJet said it had cancelled more than 70 services, from airports including Gatwick, Bristol, Belfast, Newcastle and Luton. A total of 34 flights from Gatwick have been scrapped, as well as 15 from Luton.
British Airways also warned of more flight disruption today.
Thousands of schools across the UK were closed to pupils again today, forcing parents to find emergency childcare.
Salford City Council said all its schools, children’s centres and local authority nurseries were shutting their doors and Warrington has closed all its schools in the borough. More than 100 schools are closed in Manchester.
Hundreds of schools were closed in the South West today, including all those in Bath and North East Somerset. So far 330 schools in Gloucestershire, 143 in Wiltshire, about 200 in Somerset and some 80 in Bristol have reported closures.
School transport in Swindon and South Gloucestershire has been cancelled and the University of the West of England in Bristol was also shut today.
Other local authorities reporting school closures included Cumbria, Merseyside, North Yorkshire and Surrey.
More than 70 schools in East and West Sussex were shut, and West Berkshire Council said the majority of its schools would be closed.
Hundreds of schools across Hampshire and Dorset also decided to give pupils an extra day off.
North Yorkshire Police said an accident had closed part of the A1 between the A6136 and the A684 southbound and between junction 49 and the A6136 northbound this morning.
In the South West, many minor roads were impassable.
There were some lane closures on the M4 and M5 through the region with ploughs moving snow to keep traffic moving.
Steve Ellison, from weather forecasters MeteoGroup, said: ‘Among the worst-hit areas has been the M4 corridor area – it has been snowing quite heavily there overnight.
‘We can expect to see more in that part and across central southern England during the day.’
In Gloucestershire last night, many commuters had to abandon their vehicles as the snow began falling, with Stroud, Cirencester and Cheltenham particularly badly affected.
Tens of thousands of motorists were stuck on snow-bound roads as Manchester, Liverpool and parts of Yorkshire ground to a halt.
Manchester roads were so badly hit that ambulance bosses ordered paramedics to be sent only to life-threatening cases.
Elsewhere, the M27 motorway was passable this morning but traffic was very slow, while many minor roads were hazardous with police advising motorists to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
In Dorset, snowfall of up to 5in (12.7cm) caused routes around Shaftesbury to shut, with the A30 closed in both directions.
By 12.30pm today, the AA had attended 7,000 breakdowns across the UK since midnight.
The motoring organisation said breakdowns were coming in at the rate of 1,100 every hour and that it expects to attend 15,000 breakdowns by the end of the day, compared to around 9,000 for a normal Wednesday.
Treacherous weather conditions are also affecting trains with National Rail Enquiries setting up a special number for information on 08453 017 641.
Among operators running reduced services are South West Trains and Southeastern.
Southeastern is running either half-hourly or hourly trains from most of its mainline and metro stations, but its high-speed service to London St Pancras is running as normal.
There were no services operating between Sheffield and Leeds on East Midlands Trains.
London Overground services between London and Watford Junction in Hertfordshire is suspended, while the Northern line is closed between High Barnet and Archway. The Piccadilly line is suspended between Acton Town and Rayners Lane.
First TransPennine Express was unable to run any trains between Carlisle and Edinburgh.
There were no services between Glasgow and Edinburgh on CrossCountry services, while buses replaced trains between Inverness and Perth in Scotland.
Virgin Trains intends to run a full service today but warned adverse weather conditions could cause delays and cancellations across the network.
Eurostar today cancelled four services today between London and Brussels and Paris.
But a spokesman for the company said the cancellations had nothing to do with the snow-related technical problem which caused a suspension of its services for three days before Christmas.
The company said passengers on its cancelled services could exchange tickets for travel on another day and that those delayed by more than 60 minutes could get a free single ticket or 50 per cent off a return ticket.
The National Rail Enquiries website crashed this morning after a surge in demand from passengers trying to find information about delays and cancellations.
By Sophie Freeman
Last updated at 12:50 PM on 07th January 2010
Full article: DailyMail