Britain woke on Monday to find herself  battered by the heaviest winter storms in nearly 20 years. The meteorological department had accurately predicted the cold wintry showers arriving from Siberia but the heavy snow falls played havoc on the transport system in may parts of the UK with London and the South East being particularly badly hit.

The Freeze

Road, Rail and Underground services suffered severe disruptions all through the day. At one point all the red London buses in the capital, unable to cope with the snow drifts, were confined to their depots. Heathrow Airport closed one of its two runways and many flight departures were canceled. It was the same story for airports at Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. Commuters travelling to Europe for the start of their working week sat for hours at airports awaiting news of their flights only to learn that there would be no flights on the day.

Road transport organisations such as the AA and RAC as well as the Police had urged motorists to avoid making car journeys unless it was absolutely essential. With by the lack of public transport many motorists ventured out into the severe weather only to find themselves caught in the gridlock after cars and heavy vehicles lost control and slipped up in the horrendous road conditions. Drivers then abandoned their vehicles adding to the mayhem.

Many schools were closed for the day as pupils and teachers found it difficult to get in. There were scenes of youngsters playing in the snow up and down the country as they made the most of the unexpected day off.

Weather forecasts indicate that there is more snow to come in the next couple of days. Even more worrying is the prospect of a fall in temperatures. It is expected that this will freeze all the surface precipitation increasing the risk of serious accidents.