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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 15:22 GMT
Wild weather for Easter weekend
boys sledding
The snow was good news for some in Co Durham
Storms, gale force winds, sleet and snow are making for one of the dreariest Easter weekends in years - and show no sign of easing.

"There is no sign of spring out there, to be honest," said Met Office forecaster Chris Almond.

Snow has already slowed roads in northern England, and high winds are bringing snowy showers down the entire eastern side of the country.

It could snow as far south as London overnight on Saturday.

"It won't be a huge amount of snow in London, but there will be a few centimetres," Mr Almond said.

More to come

On Saturday a five-vehicle crash on the M6 between junctions 16 and 17 near Sandbach in Cheshire closed the motorway in both directions for a time.

Police said there were eight casualties in the accident, in which one of the vehicles crossed to the northbound lanes, triggering another crash.

The northbound carriageway later reopened, but motorists were warned of severe delays while the accident was investigated.

RAILWAYS
Scheduled maintenance:
West Coast main line: Closed Good Friday-Easter Monday between Coventry, Rugby and Northampton and from London Euston Sat - Monday
East Coast main line: London King's Cross - NE England and Scotland services diverted via Leeds, 1400 Sat - 1400 Sun
Great Western main line: Didcot Parkway - Swindon and Chippenham services replaced by a bus service or diverted, Fri-Mon
South West main line: Alterations and diversions to services to and from London Waterloo due to engineering works at Clapham Junction, Fri-Mon
East Anglia/Essex coast line: Replacement bus service between Gidea Park, Billericay and Ingatestone

Mr Almond said the mixture of rain and wet snow would continue.

He added that while it may feel unseasonably cold, statistics showed Britain had a greater chance of seeing snow at Easter than it did at Christmas.

In the north of England, the snow and high winds brought chaos to Cumbria, with roads closed and buildings damaged.

The A66 route across the Pennines was closed for a time at Bowes in County Durham, because of snow and a number of stranded heavy goods vehicles on the Cumbrian border.

Some roads in Ulverston in the Lake District were also closed, after roof slates were ripped from roofs in high winds.

Crashing waves

In north-east England, coastguard officials warned people to stay clear of Redcar promenade after parked cars were swamped by wind-swept waves.

On Tyneside, both Tynemouth and Whitley Bay suffered when winds gusting up to 50mph sent waves crashing over sea walls.

A cordon was set up near the Rex Hotel in Whitley Bay, when scaffolding collapsed, damaging some vehicles. Council engineers and contractors are assessing the situation.

And 1,000 Derby County fans visiting Middlesbrough Football Club's ground had to be reseated, after a stadium stand suffered overnight damage.

Rail delays

The bad weather for motorists comes just as a spate of railway engineering projects have severely limited the rail network across the UK.

The works mean some of the busiest routes in the country will be reduced to just one train an hour, causing many people to opt to drive over the Easter holiday.

The AA said 6.5 million cars were expected on the roads over the weekend.

Eurostar said it expected to carry a record 160,000 rail travellers through the Channel Tunnel over Easter.

On the London Tube, the Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee and Metropolitan lines are affected by engineering works.


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