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Snow and wind causes disruption

Winter weather has brought major disruption to parts of the country as motorways jammed up with snow and ice brought down power lines.

Engineers were working round the clock to restore electricity supplies to thousands of homes cut off in the North East, Yorkshire and Derbyshire after strong winds and snow combined to cause 7ft drifts on exposed higher ground.

But forecasters said milder weather will see a return to spring temperatures this Easter weekend after Britain experienced summer then winter in the space of a week.

Electricity suppliers Northern Powergrid said 25,000 customers across Northumberland, west County Durham, the North Yorkshire Moors and West Yorkshire were still without power on Wednesday afternoon as 180 faults remained to be fixed. Access to the more remote affected areas was proving difficult and a helicopter was used to inspect lines.

In the Peak District, 1,500 homes were still cut off, Western Power Distribution said. A spokeswoman said the firm hoped most would be restored on Wednesday night. Around 90,000 homes across northern England had suffered power cuts since the bad weather arrived on Tuesday afternoon.

Between six and eight inches of snow fell in high parts of the Peak District, Pennines and Cumbria overnight, while trees were felled on higher ground as the Arctic front which battered Scotland on Tuesday began to move south to the Midlands and Wales.

The April snow caused trick driving conditions and forced the closure of trans-Pennine routes. Long delays in both directions between Leeds and Manchester caused frustration to thousands of motorists on the M62 after vehicles became stuck on the icy carriageway.

On the A68 between Tow Law and Castleside, County Durham, 40 vehicles were stranded overnight and on the A66 two families were rescued from their cars and sheltered at Barnard Castle police station.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with the Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said temperatures will pick up for the Easter weekend. "The cold front coming south is very slow-moving and has stalled over Wales and the Midlands," he said.

"It will carry on sliding south and rain and any snow it brings will ease off overnight. Looking ahead it is turning less cold again, with quite a lot of cloud around for most areas as we go into the weekend, with some patchy rain. It will be milder with no sign of anymore snow through the weekend."


From Belfast Telegraph