LONDON – The United Kingdom’s weather agency issued its highest alert levels for severe weather in northern regions of the country on Wednesday as Arctic atmospheric conditions continued to bear down, causing widespread travel chaos and forcing the closure of hundreds of school.
The Met Office issued a red alert urging the public in parts of central Scotland around Edinburgh and Glasgow to take immediate action to remain safe amid forecasts of hazardous conditions with of up to 40 centimeters (16 inches) of snowfall in places and a strong easterly wind that could cause the snow to drift.
“Roads will become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers. Long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel are expected,” the weather agency said. “Some communities could become cut off for several days. Long interruptions to power supplies and other services.”
All schools were closed in Glasgow and Edinburgh and most neighboring councils in Scotland, while Frist Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Transport Minster Hamza Yousaf urged the public to exercise caution and avoid travel, especially where the red alert remained in place.
Amber alerts for heavy snow showers remained in effect for northeast England and parts of eastern and northern Scotland while lesser yellow alerts covered much of the rest of the country from London to Wales and Northern Ireland.
The intense cold weather brought by a weather system moving in from Siberia nicknamed “the beast from the east” inevitably caused widespread travel disruptions.
Scotland’s rail service Scotrail canceled scores of its scheduled services and warned passengers not to travel.
There were also delays on London’s Tube, although the adverse weather in the UK’s capital had let up enough for some residents, including those of a canine persuasion, to go out and enjoy the wintry scenes, as reported in epa images.