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Snow brings chaos to eastern UK


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Snow brings chaos to eastern UK

Heavy snow has forced hundreds of schools to close and resulted in severe travel disruption in parts of eastern England and Scotland.

The army was called in to help emergency services as the worsening conditions brought parts of Kent and Sussex to a standstill.

Heavy falls also forced school and road closures in parts of Yorkshire and north-east Scotland.

A very cold night is forecast, with more snow expected on Thursday.

More than 300 schools across Kent and Sussex were closed on Wednesday, while roads were shut and some transport services cancelled.

Some trains were running up to 30 minutes late while others were cancelled. Stagecoach cancelled all its bus services in the Thanet area.

In Kent, huge queues of traffic had built up on the M20 and around Detling Hill near Sittingbourne and at Bluebell Hill near Rochester.

The army was helping the NHS move patients in Kent as conditions worsened and soldiers were on standby with four-wheel-drive vehicles to help police.

"The emergency services are clearly doing what they are paid to do, but they are always very short of four-wheel-drive capability, particularly when conditions get as bad as they are today," Col Anthony Kimber, an army spokesperson in the county, said.

"So we've been asked to provide a fairly small number of four-wheel drive vehicles to improve their mobility."

The snow cut electricity to up to 200 homes in Kent.

The Highways Agency said it had acted quickly to get gritters out on all major roads but East Sussex County Council admitted it was caught out.

Three injured

Almost 80 schools were closed or partially closed in north-east Scotland, although most roads remained open.

At least three people were injured in a series of road accidents, with one driver having to be freed after becoming trapped in his car near Udny.

A police spokesman warned drivers to take their time on the roads and keep their speed down.

Schools in parts of Leeds and in northern Yorkshire were closed after heavy snow fell during the morning.

Motorists reported traffic chaos across Yorkshire after driving conditions caused gridlock on main routes into and around towns and cities.

BBC weather forecaster Alex Deakin said: "Further problems are likely and it is going to be pretty dangerous on the roads tonight."

He said temperatures would drop below freezing for most of the country overnight, bringing a cold start to Thursday in some areas.

"We could see some snow showers in Kent on Thursday morning, clearing as the day progresses, with some sleet or snow coming into the Scottish highlands by Thursday afternoon," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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