LONDON — A blanket of snow and ice on Sunday disrupted travel in Britain and put increased pressure on the country’s energy supplies, already strained by a prolonged cold spell.
The wintry weather intensified on Sunday as a foggy afternoon turned into a snowy evening across much of the country, with a few centimeters of snow in places continuing into early Monday. Temperatures in parts of Britain, particularly London and other southern regions, are often not cold enough for snow, making every infrequent occurrence a delight to behold but a bust. -head for transit.
But the past week has seen plenty of freezing temperatures conducive to snow, with more expected in the coming week.
As snow dusted the country on Sunday, flights were canceled from London to Glasgow, with some airports including Gatwick and Stansted in London briefly closing their runways on Sunday evening to clear the snow. The delays continued into Monday as airlines cleared backlogs of canceled flights amid continued freezing weather.
Some train lines have also reported weather-related delays.
The Met Office has warned that falling snow and icy patches will continue to create dangerous conditions for drivers and cyclists in parts of southern England, including London, until Tuesday. Further north, in parts of Scotland and northern England, travel disruptions are expected to continue until Thursday.
Britain had already endured a week of freezing temperatures, with further below-freezing lows expected. A level 3 cold weather alert is in place for much of England until Friday. Authorities have advised people to check vulnerable friends and family to make sure they have access to hot food and drink and can heat their homes.
In Solihull, near Birmingham, on Sunday, three boys, aged 8, 10 and 11, died after falling into an icy lake, West Midlands Police said on Monday. A fourth boy, 6, remains in critical condition in a hospital, police said.
An investigation is continuing to determine “exactly what happened and whether anyone else fell in the water”, police said.
The prolonged cold spell put additional pressure on energy supplies. The National Grid, which runs Britain’s electricity system, warmed up two backup coal-fired power stations to “give public confidence in Monday’s energy supply”, it said in a statement. He said he wouldn’t necessarily use the extra units, but they were available if needed.
In Britain, snow is on the ground on average 15.6 days a year, according to the Met Office.