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Blizzards hit travel and sport

WINTER returned with a vengeance yesterday as driving rain hit most of the country.

Major roads between Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds were paralysed, and there were flood warnings near rivers.

Snow drifts made driving over the Pennines treacherous, while on the M62 in west Yorkshire, traffic was crawling along at just 3mph. The RAC said: 'We expect conditions to deteriorate on Tuesday as the winds pick up.'

In Humberside, the First Division football match between Grimsby Town and Sunderland was stopped in a blizzard six minutes after the kick-off.

Meanwhile, police in Hampshire warned that the combination of a high tide and strong winds could bring flooding.

In South Wales, homes at Pontypridd were under water, and there were flood alerts for the Gwendraeth Fawr and Cynin rivers in West Wales. In east Clwyd, 4in of snow fell.

There were blizzard conditions in Scotland and the Highlands, while high winds forced ski tows and lifts to shut down in the Cairngorms.