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The BBC's George Eykyn
"Scores of accidents on the roads"
 real 56k

The BBC's Denis Murray in Northern Ireland
"All three airports were closed at one point"
 real 56k

The BBC's Carole Jones in Glasgow
"Fears that the snow will ice over"
 real 56k

The BBC's Jon Brain at Luton Airport
"The airport here has finally reopened"
 real 56k

Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 22:04 GMT
Big freeze expected to last
Phonebox
It was the first snowfall of the year for some parts
Snow, freezing fog and icy conditions are expected to continue across the UK at the weekend.

Travellers who have endured chaos in road, rail and air services as a result of heavy snow falls can expect no let up over the next few days.

Drivers are warned to beware icy roads and make journeys in remote areas only if necessary.

Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland saw its heaviest snow for 18 years
A number of airports were closed for most of Thursday, with thousands of passengers stranded or delayed by knock-on effects.

Luton Airport reopened at 2000GMT but travellers were advised to check with their airlines for details of cancellations or delays.

Edinburgh Airport was closed, reopened and forced to close again for the evening at about 2030GMT as heavy snow descended on the Scottish capital.

A spokesman said about 20 inbound and outbound flights would be affected and a decision would be taken on Friday morning about whether to reopen the airport.

The Met office has issued several severe warnings, expecting more heavy snow falls throughout the night with temperatures dropping to around -15C in Northern Ireland and -7C in England and Wales.

Northern Ireland has already seen the worst snow fall in 18 years.

The Automobile Association (AA) was dealing with 1,300 breakdowns an hour as drivers continued to try and get their cars started in sub-zero temperatures.

Tough travelling

A couple and their 12-month-old child were airlifted off Dartmoor after their car became stuck in snow.

A police four-wheel-drive vehicle could not reach them and an RAF helicopter from Chivenor in North Devon had to be called in.

London Underground sign
Tube services have been hit by the weather
On the railways, Virgin West Coast reverted to an emergency timetable because of the bad weather and there was disruption of services in the southeast.

London Underground was also forced to suspend some services.

People with elderly or vulnerable relatives have been advised to ensure they have facilities to stay warm as the adverse weather is expected to last several days.

Scotland's deputy chief medical officer Dr Andrew Fraser warned people to take care of their elderly relatives.

He said: "Cold weather helps to bring on colds and chills, make chronic illness worse and greatly increases the chances of hurting ourselves from slips and falls in the street."

North Nibley, near Dursley, Gloucestershire
Driving conditions remain treacherous
A police helicopter was scrambled in Lancashire to airlift a pensioner from an isolated farm near Chipping after the 76-year-old suffered a heart attack.

An RAC spokeswoman urged motorists to check their oil, brakes and lights before setting off on journeys and take their mobile phones with them.

She urged motorists to use A roads and motorways where possible because they would be more likely to be gritted.

In Scotland, thick fog caused a collision between a ferry and a container ship on the Clyde on Wednesday. Seventeen passengers had to be taken to hospital.

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See also:

28 Dec 00 | Scotland
Snow brings Scots to a standstill
28 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
NI warning over 'treacherous' roads
28 Dec 00 | UK
Picture gallery: Arctic UK
28 Dec 00 | Wales
Aircraft skids on icy runway
28 Dec 00 | Scotland
Joy as fishermen are found alive
28 Dec 00 | UK
Band practise in freezer
27 Dec 00 | Scotland
River collision inquiry launched
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