Snow and freezing temperatures expose Britain's weakness to cold weather

09:34, December 22, 2010      

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People walk on Wandsworth Common after heavy snow falls in London December 18, 2010. Fresh snow brought much of Britain to a standstill on Saturday, on what is traditionally the busiest weekend for shopping and travel in the run-up to Christmas. (Xinhua/Reuters)

Continued freezing temperatures on Tuesday prolonged the transport chaos that has gripped Britain for four days, and weather forecasters predicted that ice and snow would remain on the ground until at least Dec. 26.

The weather is far colder than the usual December temperatures, with London seeing day temperatures struggle to rise above freezing, when the average weather should be 8 degrees centigrade. Night temperatures have plunged to -6 degrees centigrade. On Monday evening the coldest place was in central England, at -18.6 degrees centigrade.

Other parts of the country, notably Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern England have been colder still, and weather forecasters say the whole country can expect more snow before or on Dec. 25, the Christmas Day.

Heavy snowfalls from Wednesday last week onwards hit many northern and central parts of the British isles, and reached London on Saturday. The depth of the snow, in parts of the country up to 15 centimeters, and freezing temperatures have made many roads slow and dangerous to use, and caused unprecedented chaos at the capital city's two main airports and its rail terminals.

With Christmas only a few days away, many flights and trains were fully booked and the closure of airports and delays on the railways have caused severe inconvenience to many.

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