UK shivers as snow sweeps in

Last updated 08:59 25/03/2013

Snow caused disruption across the UK, with roads forced to close in the northwest English county of Cumbria where at least 70 drivers were stranded and many forced to abandon their vehicles.

Snow wreaks havoc in Scotland

Snow sweeps across UK
Reuters Zoom
The snow covered village of Cargan in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

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An unseasonable dump of spring snow is causing chaos across the UK, leaving tens of thousands of people without power and travel services in disarray.

The BBC reported that some areas had been hit by drifts up to 18ft deep and homes were left without power in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Cumbria after a blackout on Friday night (Saturday NZT).

TV news reports showed emergency crews digging cars out of piles of snow in Cumbria and at least one death has been blamed on the icy blast.

The body of a 27-year-old man, who was last seen walking home from the pub, was discovered on Sunday in deep snow by a farmer in Lancashire.

The snow and ice has blocked roads and led to flights being cancelled or delayed. Forecasters expected the weather system to linger over the area for several more days.

At the same time, UK gas stocks remain uncomfortably tight with weeks of abnormally cold weather still to come.

The late blast of winter weather has drained Britain's already modest gas stocks to around a tenth of their capacity, sparking fears of supply restrictions with the cold weather forecast to continue into early April.
The first of a trio of tanker loads of super-cooled gas from the world's largest LNG exporter docked at the Isle of Grain terminal near London on Sunday, with a second due in Wales on Monday and a third on Friday, tracking data on Reuters shows.

The Qatari tankers could supply a total of around 430 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Britain over the next week, compared with daily gas demand of around 370 mcm, while another tanker has set sail from Trinidad on Saturday after UK gas prices leapt on Friday when a key supply link from Belgium shut unexpectedly for eight hours.

"We get our supplies from a diverse range of sources and the market is proving to be highly responsive to the UK's needs," UK Energy Minister John Hayes said in statement, pointing to the three LNG tanker deliveries.

"A shipment of liquefied natural gas arrived today and two more are due over the coming week," he said, adding that good supplies by pipeline from Europe and the UK's own North Sea platforms had allowed some replenishment of UK gas stocks over the weekend.

- Agencies

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