Page last updated at 21:12 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Heavy snow hits roads and flights

Snow in Hove [pic by Kat Locke]
Sussex Police said most people seemed to have stayed off the roads

Heavy snowfall across parts of Sussex has left motorists facing treacherous conditions.

Police said they had dealt with over 140 weather-related incidents, which included cars abandoned on the A27.

Some people were trapped in their vehicles, while others had to leave them on the carriageway.

Motorists have been warned not to travel as plummeting temperatures, snow and ice continue to make driving conditions hazardous.

Sussex Police Supt Steve Barry said: "The public are also doing their bit by checking on the welfare of friends, family and neighbours who may be more vulnerable in the cold weather.

Road problems

Heavy snow causes chaos on roads

"With temperatures hovering around freezing and a slight thaw earlier today, ice is now the major hazard on the roads. Motorists and pedestrians are reminded to use extra caution in these extreme conditions.

"We'd ask drivers to take heed of any weather warnings and still stay off the roads unless travel is essential."

Gatwick Airport had to close for seven hours and although it reopened at about 0730 GMT, passengers were warned that flights will still be disrupted.

The bad weather also affected schools, with hundreds closed across Sussex.

Earlier, police closed the A23 at Handcross Hill following an accident as a result of the conditions.

Southeastern Trains said all mainline routes from Kent and East Sussex were subject to delays and cancellations but limited services on most routes were running.

First Capital Connect said the weather was causing delays on their service between Bedford and Brighton. There is also a reduced service on the Gatwick Express.

Snow in Brighton
The heavy snowfall has affected roads, flights and schools across Sussex

Brighton and Hove buses had to suspend most of its services earlier, but normal timetables have now resumed.

The city council said all major roads and bus routes were now clear but urged motorists to take extra care.

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 Uckfield and Haywards Heath.

Sussex Police said most people seemed to have taken heed of the weather warning and stayed off the roads.

"It also seems that those who are driving have been doing so with proper care," said Supt Steve Barry.

But he warned the weather was due to get worse later and urged people who had to drive to "take it very slowly and carefully".

"Pedestrians should also take care when crossing roads as vehicles need longer stopping distances in this weather," he said.

Mr Barry added there had been several dozen road crashes since midnight across Sussex, which had been mainly low-speed damage or minor injury incidents.

"Many are single vehicle-only incidents. There are also many abandoned vehicles," he said.

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