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Britain braced for further severe weather


Tens of thousands of householders are facing another day without power after freezing gales and snow brought Britain's early summer to an abrupt end.

Motorists have been warned to prepare for ice and roads lashed by high winds after meteorologists recorded gusts of up to 66mph.

And police have asked people to be "good neighbours" and to check on their nearest and dearest to make sure they are safe and warm.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands.

Northern Powergrid said its engineers worked throughout the night to restore power to customers after more than 200 faults were reported yesterday.

Power cuts began to hit the Northumberland area yesterday afternoon as overhead cables were blown down by strong winds before areas further south began to be affected. Rain and snow also caused delays in fixing the problems.

It came after 11,000 Scottish Hydro customers were left without power yesterday morning.

Aisling Creevy, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said a slow-moving band of rain, sleet and snow would continue to cause problems on higher ground today as it moves south.

"There is currently a band of rain, sleet and snow across northern Wales, the north west Midlands and northern England which will generally move southwards throughout the day, leaving very cold and icy conditions behind it," she said.

Around 40,000 people in Yorkshire and the North East were experiencing power cuts this morning, according to electricity provider Northern Powergrid.

Snow and ice caused overhead lines to break, resulting in around 200 faults.

And thousands of homes were left without power after heavy snow and blizzard conditions hit the Peak District.

Western Power Distribution said 9,000 homes were affected in north Derbyshire, between Buxton and Chesterfield.

Forecasters said between six and eight inches of snow fell in high parts of the Peak District, Pennines and Cumbria overnight, while trees were felled on higher ground as the Arctic front which battered Scotland yesterday began to move south.

Durham Police chief superintendent Andy Reddick said: "As far as the power outage is concerned, we know that every effort is being made to restore electricity but efforts are being hampered by the weather.

"In the meantime, I would urge everyone in the affected areas to be good neighbours.

"If you have an elderly or vulnerable person living near you, please check that they are OK and help them wrap up warm."

Cumbria police said the A66 transpennine route remained closed in both directions due to severe weather conditions and advised drivers to use alternative routes. The A537 in Cheshire was also badly affected by snow.

Temperatures in London and the South are expected to range between 9C and 12C today with the mercury reaching between 4C and 7C elsewhere.

Temperatures in the north could drop as low as minus 5C overnight.

The Met Office said up to two-and-a-half inches of snow could fall on high ground today.