PICS: Snow and ice causes flight delays as UK sees heaviest snowfall in four years

2017-12-10 19:45
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London - The heaviest snowfall to hit Britain in four years caused widespread disruption on Sunday, with roads becoming hazardous and flights grounded following runway closures.

Birmingham Airport, serving the country's second biggest city, suspended flights for all of Sunday morning, as staff worked to clear the runway amid heavy snow.

A spokesperson told AFP they expected it to re-open early afternoon.

The airport, which typically handles around 30 000 passengers and 200 flights a day in December, diverted 11 flights elsewhere and expected to cancel more than that, she added.

Meanwhile, London Luton Airport closed its runway for two hours before reopening around 11:30 GMT to departing aircraft, according to a spokesman.

It had opened to incoming flights by early afternoon.

"All flights (are) subject to delay or cancellation," he said.

Delayed passengers took to Twitter to complain, with one frustrated traveller describing the airport as "like a war zone".

'Only necessary travel'

Police forces in worst-hit Wales and central England urged motorists not to travel unless "absolutely necessary" as they dealt with surging calls.

A spokesperson for the Highways England agency said there had been road incidents "all over the place".

The flurries continued to fall into the afternoon, raising the prospect of roads becoming impassable.

Swathes of Britain were hit by the snowfall Sunday, with significant accumulation in central and western regions, according to the Met Office, the country's official weather service.

Sennybridge, in Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, topped the records with 30 cms, while Coleshill, close to Birmingham, received 10 cms, it reported.

Meanwhile, light snow and sleet fell through the morning in London, leaving Northolt, on the outskirts of the capital, with a covering of 2 cms, the Met Office said.

"We've gone through the worst of it," said Oli Claydon, a spokesperso

n, early afternoon.

Most areas impacted would have a "bright, sunny start to Monday," he added.

Claydon said the last time Britain saw this much heavy snow nationwide was March, 2013, and during the winter of 2010.

Snow and ice ground hundreds of flights in Frankfurt

More than 300 flights were cancelled and hundreds more delayed as snow and ice blocked runways at Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt on Sunday, the airport operator said.

Some 330 flights were cancelled by 5:00pm (16:00 GMT) after heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures struck the region around the German financial capital, a spokesman for airport operator Fraport told AFP.

The airport -- Germany's largest air hub and the home base for airline giant Lufthansa - had been scheduled to handle a total of 1 260 flights over the day.

More flights could be cancelled in the evening, the spokesperson said, but added that weather was forecast to improve in the coming hours.

In a message on its website, Frankfurt Airport asked passengers to check with their carrier online whether their flight would go ahead before travelling to the airport.

Much of Germany woke up to snowfall and temperatures around zero Sunday.

Elsewhere in the country, Duesseldorf airport was forced to close for four hours during the afternoon, news agency DPA reported.

Meanwhile, trains were delayed, redirected or cancelled across western North Rhine-Westphalia state. 

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