BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 22:34 GMT
Snow brings chaos to travellers
Snow covered cars
Vintage cars in North Yorkshire are brushed down
Heavy snow falls and high winds have brought chaos across the UK's roads as "surprise blizzards" and treacherous conditions caused a slew of accidents.

As 20ft (six metre) snow drifts formed in some areas, roads were closed, people were advised to stay indoors and hundreds of homes were without power.

A motorist was killed and his passenger injured when their car slid off the slush-covered A19 in Peterlee, Durham and hit a lamp post.

The aircrews did exceptionally well in dreadful conditions

RAF spokesman
Police said conditions were difficult but could not confirm if the state of the road was the cause of the crash.

In Scotland, police rescued 16 people, including a child, when they were trapped in their cars after snowplough crews were unable to reach them on the A9 Wick-to-Inverness road.

On the A1 in North Yorkshire two RAF Sea King helicopters braved terrible weather, needing to land twice en route to airlifting casualties to hospital after a pile-up six miles south of Leeming.

Another 23-vehicle collision involving cars, lorries and transit vans blocked the northbound carriageway near to Dishforth and injured 13 people, three seriously.

Sudden snow storms

An RAF spokesman said: "The aircrews did exceptionally well in dreadful conditions."

Police said accidents could have been caused by sudden snow storms.

A spokesman said: "We understand that there was sunshine which suddenly turned into a blizzard. We think that snow may have been a factor."

The best advice is to slow down and give some extra time for your journey

Met Office
Rail services have been badly affected, with some services cancelled and serious disruption on others.

Wintry showers and hail have been continuing throughout Saturday.

Met Office spokesman John Wylie warned drivers: "They are heavy snow showers, so while you may be driving along and conditions aren't too bad, those showers will bring visibility down very quickly."

He said winds of up to 60mph could also be expected and warned drivers of high-sided vehicles to take extra care.

Trains cancelled

"The best advice is to slow down and give some extra time for your journey."

Both the main rail lines between England and Scotland have reopened, but many services were cancelled.

Many areas saw heavy snowfall
The west coast mainline, which was shut on Friday between Carlisle and Lockerbie after a tree brought down power lines, was operating on a single track.

Travellers faced further disruption on journeys to destinations including Edinburgh, Glasgow and London as train operator Virgin said less than half its normal service would be running.

It does not expect services to return to normal until noon on Sunday.

Five rowers were rescued from the River Thames in London after heavy swells capsized their boat.

The RNLI said its Chiswick lifeboat was called to Wandsworth Bridge where the five had been training.

In Northern Ireland works teams struggled to restore power to 1,600 homes hit when power lines were brought down in gales.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Snowploughs have been out in force"
See also:

22 Feb 02 | England
Winds cause road chaos
12 Feb 02 | Wales
Flood rescue after heavy rain
21 Dec 01 | England
Flood communities cut adrift
23 Feb 02 | Northern Ireland
Severe weather causes power cuts
23 Feb 02 | Scotland
Winter snap continues to bite
23 Feb 02 | England
Blizzards wreak road chaos
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories