Heavy snow in Britain causes travel chaos
Associated Press Writer
LONDON ” Heavy snowfall in much of Britain caused widespread travel problems throughout the country Monday morning, causing hundreds of flight cancellations and rush hour chaos in London.
Both runways at Heathrow Airport were shut down and officials were working on getting one of them reopened quickly, according to a spokesman for BAA Ltd., which operates seven airports in Britain.
More than 250 flights were canceled at Heathrow, the BAA spokesman said on condition of anonymity because of company policy, and more problems were expected.
Just before the runways were closed, a Cyprus Airlines flight landed and was heading for the terminal when its front wheel slipped off the taxiway, he said. No one was injured.
There were no flights operating out of the smaller London City Airport, and severe delays were reported at Gatwick and Stansted. Authorities advised travelers to check with their airlines before going to airports.
Southeast England was hardest hit with up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow reported in some areas, including the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, forecasters said. The London area has seen accumulations of up to about 4 inches (10 centimeters).
The Met Office, the country’s national weather service, expects flurries to continue throughout the day in many areas and is monitoring another snowstorm moving toward England from France.
London, which rarely gets any accumulation, was transformed into a winter wonderland and residents took time out to have snowball fights. The normally bustling Camden market in north London was virtually empty, with many vendors opting to stay home for the day. Three men built a large snowman in one of the market courtyards overlooking Regent’s Canal.
In nearby Primrose Hill, children were up early sledding as their parents took photos.
London commuters had a tougher time with thousands stranded as transport systems collapsed. The city’s extensive bus network was shut down because of dangerous road conditions, and several subway lines were suspended and others were operating with severe delays.
Britain’s major roadways were open, but officials advised people to stay home because of hazardous conditions and delays caused by many accidents, including a large number involving tractor-trailers that went out of control during the storm.
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