Army helps Kent dig out of snow

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The Independent Online

The army was called in yesterday to assist emergency services after parts of south-east England received their heaviest snowfalls in a decade.

The army was called in yesterday to assist emergency services after parts of south-east England received their heaviest snowfalls in a decade.

Five army 4x4 vehicles and their drivers, from 18 Transport Squadron based in Dover, as well as soldiers from 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, were mobilised to help out in Kent.

The South-east was the worst affected area with six inches of snow reported in Kent and the Medway region.

More than 300 schools were closed and the majority of bus and train services were cancelled as blizzards swept the coast. An RAC spokesman said traffic was extremely slow on the M2, M20 and M23. "The snow has been heaviest in Kent and, in some places, traffic is at a complete standstill.

Drivers in North Yorkshire and Sussex were urged to take extra care after snow and ice created hazardous driving conditions.

And, in Cumbria, a stretch of the A686 around Melmerby was closed when snow made it impassable. Justine Baty, of the PA WeatherCentre, said a low pressure system was lingering over the south-east corner of England bringing with it heavy snow and very low temperatures. "The sleet and snow are going to persist into today. The low pressure will move away very slowly," she said.

Snow showers would continue to hit southern and eastern England this morning but the afternoon will be drier and brighter with a chance of a considerable thaw, she said.

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