UK

UK snow: Electricity still out at thousands of homes

  • 25 March 2013
  • From the section UK

Thousands of homes are still without power and many roads remain impassable after severe weather affected much of the UK over the weekend.

In Scotland several thousand homes were affected after snow and strong winds damaged power cables.

In Northern Ireland some households in remote areas have been warned it could be several days before their supplies are reconnected.

The Met Office has issued a warning for ongoing severe weather.

It has issued an extension to its previous amber alert for "severe weather action". Experts say there is a 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions between 08:00 GMT on Monday and 08:00 GMT on Friday in parts of England.

"Bitterly cold easterly winds will persist this week, bringing snow showers to north-east England and light snow flurries across other areas of England. With lying snow and partial snow melt during the daytimes, icy conditions are likely during the nights," the Met Office says.

BBC website reader Sandra Kaine took this picture outside her house near Hilderstone in Staffordshire
BBC website reader Sandra Kaine took this picture in Staffordshire

Parts of south-west Scotland, Kintyre and the Isle of Arran have been without power for four days. Electricity engineers are still working to reconnect about 3,500 homes on Kintyre and 1,500 on Arran.

The sheer weight of snow has destroyed power line and engineers have been hampered by snow-drifts and heavy winds over the weekend.

Fraser Hendry, a manager at the Kilnoch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot, on the isle of Arran, said an emergency centre for local people had been set up in the hotel.

"The main problem we have is the amount of snow that fell. The roads are dreadful, the roads that have been cleared, the snow has melted and is now just freezing over and the whole place is like an ice rink.

"Our hotel has had an old generator for 60 years. We're trying to keep that going at the moment so there is a warm place for the medics, the mountain rescue and the local fire brigade.

"We've been told it could be Friday before we get the supply back."

Kenneth Young, who is on Arran, told the BBC the situation was pretty bad, especially on the south side of the island.

"There's been drift of up to 10ft. I know the headmistress of the local primary school on the south side and she showed me some pictures," he said. "Obviously the school is closed but she wanted to check the building itself and they look like scenes from the Arctic Circle."

Paul Soffe took this picture of Ewloe Green Primary School in Flintshire, which is currently closed for the Easter holidays
The path to Ewloe Green Primary School in Flintshire

Geology students from Calder High School in West Yorkshire have been stranded at the Loch Ranza Field Studies Centre on the island. They were supposed to leave on Friday but were snowed in.

Teacher Paul Williams told the BBC it had been very cold and he was looking forward to his feet thawing out.

"There were four school groups there. The centre staff have been great, keeping us fed with hot food - soup and porridge. Everyone mucked in together and the lads were helping clear the paths and helping the coastguard unload supplies."

Will Emberton, 16, added: "We were stuck inside most days. We played eight games of Risk."

Ross Easton, from Scottish and Southern Energy, said extra staff had been called in to deal with the problems.

"This really has been a mammoth effort from us, we've got teams drafted in from the South of England and from Scotland. Typically on Arran we've got two members of staff. Right now we've got 150," he said.

In other developments:

In Derbyshire's Peak District, Laura Boddy said she had been cut off for the last two days.

"We certainly started running out of milk earlier on, and bread, but we managed to get out to a farm by walking over and through the drifts," she said.

"In fact at times we had to walk on top of walls because that was the only clear space we could get to. It's still very snowy, thankfully the wind has now died down a bit but there have been drifts that are seven or eight feet high."

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