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The BBC's John Kay
"Hundreds of newly-born lambs perished overnight"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
'Arctic weather will not last'
Snow blocked Tan Hill in the Pennines
The bitter wintry weather which brought blizzards, flooding and road chaos to Britain is not forecast to last.

There has certainly been a higher than normal number of road traffic accidents

Automobile Association
Many roads were icy, flooded or blocked and the winter conditions also forced the closure of Luton airport - 16 days into British Summer Time.

But forecasters say the picture is due to change on Wednesday with rising temperatures and some sunny spells.

The BBC Weather Centre says that while there may be early frost, most places will see sunshine despite sporadic showers.

On Tuesday morning, snow blanketed swathes of the country, bringing chaos to roads and causing headaches for rush-hour commuters.

Luton Airport was closed on Monday night due to snow. It reopened at 0800 BST on Tuesday.

One motorist was injured when his van overturned in severe weather on the M6 in Staffordshire.

Snow and flooding

One of the worst affected areas was the Pennines with a "white-out" blocking the A57 Snake Pass from Glossop, Derbyshire, to Sheffield.

The AA said there had been dozens of accidents across the UK and they had been much busier than usual.

No respite for sheep in heavy snow
A spokesman said: "By the end of the day we expect 18,000 breakdowns compared to 12,000 to 14,000 on an average day.

"We expect to see continued problems tomorrow with damp engines. There has certainly been a higher than normal number of road traffic accidents."

Motorways around Birmingham were said to particularly hazardous, as snow hardened into icy patches.

As heavy rain swept across parts of the south, flooding was reported from Cambridgeshire to Somerset.

In Somerset, a nurse in her 20s suffered hypothermia when most of her car was submerged in floodwater. She was forced to stand up with her head through the sunroof and call for help on her mobile phone.

Heavy rain also affected London and the Home Counties.

Lambs dying in fields

The National Farmers Union's England and Wales hill farming committee chairman Peter Allen said lambs had been badly affected by the weather.

He said: "It has quite a serious effect because it takes its toll in deaths, particularly this year after having a mild three or four weeks in March.

"The biggest factor is starvation due to cold for those lambs who are newly born or in the first week of life. Farmers can expect fairly heavy losses. It means all around work for farmers and shepherds."

In the West of England, the bad weather took all analogue television services off air.

On Thursday the BBC Weather Centre forecasts that most places will be dry with sunny spells and feel quite pleasant in generally light winds.

A few wintry showers are likely over southeast England, and northwest Scotland will remain rather cloudy.

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