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More snow on the way

Christmas snowstorms left more than 4,000 families in the Western Isles and Shetland without electricity and facing Boxing Day without heat or light because of blizzard conditions.

Many people enjoyed a less bleak white Christmas after snow fell in Durham, north Yorkshire and parts of Northern Ireland and East Anglia.

A London Weather Centre spokesman predicted further snowfalls after Northern Ireland had its first white Christmas in years.

Several people were involved in accidents. In north-west Scotland, lighthouse keeper Donald MacIver cheated death in a blizzard, wading two miles through snowdrifts to find shelter. Mr MacIver, 44, ran into four feet of snow on Christmas Eve when he set out from Cape Wrath light to pick up supplies and mail in a Land Rover. He had to strike out on foot for a hut on a Ministry of Defence firing range. Mr MacIver said last night: "If it weren't for the hut I would be dead."

A Western Isles man and his daughter refused to be rescued from their van after crashing during a blizzard unless police also took their wild goat.

The cold snap looks set to spread south, with Arctic air covering the whole of the UK. England and Wales will have a mainly dry day with sunny spells although it will be cold. Scotland and Northern Ireland can expect heavy snow at times, especially in the Highlands.

Nine of the ten race meetings scheduled for today have either been abandoned already or face a similar fate this morning.

Blizzards strike;

Weather forecast, page 2