Snow, hail, gales - it must be the Easter holidays

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The Independent Online
SNOW, hail and cold added to Easter holidaymakers' woes yesterday, with winds reaching up to 50mph in some regions.

April came in with a savage bite on Good Friday after one of the the warmest Marches since records began more than 300 years ago. Gales brought chaos to many areas, and temperatures fell further yesterday.

Flights were unaffected by snow at Gatwick and hail at Heathrow, where a spokeswoman said 103,000 passengers flew out, down by a third on the peak recorded on Thursday.

The coldest place in Britain was Tulloch Bridge in the Highlands, at 3C. Only 70 miles east, Aberdeen was the warmest, at 9C. AA Roadwatch reported packed snow and ice on the A82 at Glencoe.

Snow fell in England, from Derby and Yorkshire to the West Country, and in Wales, but did not settle. Heavy hail in London briefly created a winter scene in parks. Weather experts said the snow was unlikely to settle for long on all but the highest ground.

Some areas, mainly on the east coast, had some sunshine and a five-mile traffic tailback built up on the A47 near Great Yarmouth. Scarborough and Bridlington, too, were busy.

Rain is expected this morning, after a clear chilly night, starting in the west and spreading to all areas during the day. Mist and fog are forecast around some western and southern coasts. Early rain in western Scotland will move north-eastwards across the rest of Scotland by about midday.

Northern Ireland will be wet and windy with rain. Clearer weather, with showers, will spread in the evening.

Cross-Channel ferry services returned to normal after Friday's gales which caused delays of up to three hours at Dover. Elsewhere, the gales disrupted travel, caused damage valued at millions of pounds, and playing a part in at least two fatal accidents.

The Health and Safety Executive announced yesterday that the code of practice on fairground safety is to be reviewed after the death of a nine-year-old boy on a high- speed water chute ride.

Timothy Morgan was thrown 60 feet after a steel lighting gantry collapsed in high wind at the Coney Beach park in Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan.

In Grampian, it emerged that a family of four killed in a road crash had only recently arrived for an Easter holiday break. The fifth victim of the crash - a 14-year-old boy - was the son of a police superintendent called out with colleagues to the scene of the accident, near Forres.

One person died and eight others - including a Briton - were missing after strong winds battered Spain's northern coasts and the Canary Islands, whipping up waves more than 16 feet high, Reuter reports from Madrid.

Neil Bennett, 21, believed to be on holiday from the London area, was swept out to sea while walking in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands on Friday. Rescue services were continuing to search for him yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)

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