LONDON: High winds battered large parts of Britain, claiming at least one life, as forecasters warn of blizzards and snow showers to come. A 45-year-old lorry driver died on the M6, near Tebay, in Cumbria as his lorry overturned in gusts of up to 70mph.
The Forth Road Bridge, west of Edinburgh, was closed to northbound traffic after a lorry overturned but has now reopened. In Wales homes have been left without electricity and some schools closed. Some 1,000 homes were without power in Gwynedd and two schools, John Beddoes High in Presteigne and Whitton Primary schools in Powys, are closed because of a power failure.
The air will be a lot colder, with sleet and snow showers working their way across the whole of the UK by tomorrow morning. A Met Office spokeswoman said the cold weather was coming “straight from the Arctic” and everywhere across the UK would have a chance of seeing snow over the coming days. “At the moment a lot of people are fighting wind and rain across the south eastern half of England and Wales, but that should have moved away by teatime,” she said.
“There are an awful lot of showers across northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and they are going to work their way southwards. A man died when his lorry was blown over on the M6. “The air will be a lot colder, with sleet and snow showers working their way across the whole of the UK by tomorrow morning.”
Northern areas could see snowfall between 10cm (4in) and 20cm (8in), while southern England is likely to see 2cm (1in) to 5cm (2in) of snow. Blizzards and snow drifts, due to the high winds, were likely in northern parts, she added. There are widespread travel delays, including at the Port of Dover, in Kent, which is closed to shipping movements because of gusts of up to 60mph.
A spokeswoman said: “The port has been closed in the interests of safety because of the high winds. “We would ask passengers expected to travel to first contact their operator for further details.” On the roads in Kent, the coastbound carriageway of the M20 is closed between junction 11, Hythe, and junction 12, Folkestone.
Drivers are warned to be wary of the possibility of trees or other debris on roads. Elsewhere, a 50-mile stretch of the M6 motorway was closed to all traffic as winds gusted up to 70mph causing several accidents. The lorry driver was pronounced dead on the northbound M6 near Tebay early on Thursday.
A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “The HGV appeared to have been affected by the adverse weather and has blown over, causing the vehicle to collide into a central reservation.” In Wales, the M48 old Severn Bridge, the Cleddau Bridge in Pembrokeshire and the Britannia Bridge in north Wales are closed to high-sided vehicles.
In Scotland, restrictions are in place on the Tay and Erskine bridges, and further north there were also warnings on the Skye and Kessock bridges. Around Aberdeenshire, police are warning that heavy snows, fallen trees, and a number of other minor incidents are causing problems for motorists. A Grampian Police spokesman said: “Drivers are warned to be wary of the possibility of trees or other debris on roads, in view of the current weather conditions, and to take particular care.”-SANA