Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Snowfall causes major disruption


Aerial footage shows traffic ground to a halt in some parts of Kent

Motorists are being urged by Kent Police not to travel by car as plummeting temperatures, snow and ice make driving conditions treacherous.

Several inches of snow fell overnight leaving many roads impassable, with cars abandoned and people stranded.

More than 300 schools were shut on Friday and trains services were severely disrupted.

Eurotunnel said its Folkestone terminal was running at full capacity and urged people to stay away.

It also announced it was shutting its France passenger service because of the weather and urged any customers with reservations to ring before they travel.

Road problems

Heavy snow causes chaos on roads

Ch Supt Matthew Nix, from Kent Police, said: "Driving conditions are hazardous so please do not travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary.

"The snow is heavy in Maidstone, Medway, Tunbridge Wells and in north Kent.

"Temperatures are forecast to fall below freezing tonight which will make roads icy and even more dangerous."

Police have also urging motorists who were forced to abandon their vehicles to leave them where they are until the weather improves and it is safe to return.

Ch Supt Nix added: "Any vehicles blocking routes will be safely moved to the side of the road by the Highways Agency.

"If drivers have reached a place of safety they should stay there until the weather improves."

About 200 drivers on the M20 and M2 were stuck in tailbacks overnight.

Davina McCall

During the night a lorry jack-knifed on the A21, near the Tunbridge Wells turn-off, leaving motorists stuck in the snow for three hours.

Among them was television presenter Davina McCall, who told BBC Radio 5 live she was "wedged in a whole series of cars".

"I did call the police after a couple of hours and they came pretty quickly," she said.

The Big Brother presenter said she had invited a couple who were walking to come and sit in her car, and added: "I quite like times like this because British people stick together."

The snow has also been partly blamed for a series of power cuts across the south-east.

EDF Energy said there had been a number of faults on their overhead lines, with areas affected including Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Rochester, Sittingbourne, Dartford and Maidstone.

On Friday, a number of major routes across the county faced heavily congested with traffic. These included parts of the M20, coast-bound, and the south-bound A21.

The new Sheppey Crossing was also closed, and ferries operating out of the Port of Dover faced delays of up to an hour-and-a-half.

There were also hold-ups on main roads in and around the Folkestone and Dover area.

Southeastern Trains said all mainline routes from Kent and East Sussex had been subject to delays and cancellations, but limited services had run on most routes.

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The Sun White out - 4 hrs ago
Your Maidstone Snow joke as west of county hit worst - 9 hrs ago
Central FM 103.1 Over 1,000 Without Power Amid Big Freeze - 10 hrs ago
Daily Star Britain grinds to a halt after heavy snowfall - 10 hrs ago

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