Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Big freeze set for the weekend

Gareth Wyn Jones and his sheepdog Cap with a pregnant sheep which was trapped for four days beneath snow on his farm in North Wales
An RAF Chinook helicopter arrives at Flying Station Aldergrove to be loaded with animal feed for distribution to Northern Ireland farms (PA/MoD)
Boats in the snow on the Sowerby Bridge wharf, West Yorkshire

Britain's freezing weather looks set to continue over the Easter weekend, with forecasters warning there may be no end in sight until next month.

Thousands of people are still without power and transport routes across the UK remain impassable due to deep snow drifts as the dangerous wintry weather shows no signs of abating.

An RAF Chinook helicopter has been called in to help as part of an emergency operation in Northern Ireland as farms and families remain cut off by huge snow drifts. And in western Scotland, more than 3,000 people in Argyll and the Isle of Arran are still without power after ice and snow damaged pylons.

The severe weather has been blamed for the deaths of a number of birds, including puffins, razorbills and guillemots, which have washed up on Britain's beaches. The RSPB Scotland said it had received reports in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Northumberland.

Forecaster James Wilby from MeteoGroup said the wintry weather looks set to continue into next month, with a new weather front moving in from the south west of England bringing the risk of more heavy snow storms next week.

He said; "There's still a considerable amount of snow in the north of England and Scotland which isn't thawing. Daytime temperatures will struggle to get above 4C or 5C (39F or 41F) this week but it will feel well below zero because of the winds.

"We're not expecting significant amounts of snow but it will add to the accumulation. Overnight and into tomorrow (Wednesday), eastern parts of Scotland, north-east England and parts of northern England will see more snow."

Farmers have been left counting the cost of the blizzard conditions, with many having to rescue stranded livestock at the height of the lambing season.

Meanwhile, Age Sector Platform claimed the Government's winter fuel allowance "cuts" have left pensioners struggling to pay for energy as freezing conditions persist in Northern Ireland. The pressure group called for an emergency payment.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of snow and ice for much of north-east England and eastern Scotland, with warnings of snow for the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East. Forecasters warned of a "100% probability" of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday morning.

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