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UK braced for Storm Emma as heavy snow causes chaos


Press Trust of India London
A brutal winter blast, named 'Beast from the East' after the direction of the winds, is set to transform into Storm Emma as the UK suffers severe travel disruptions and chaos due to heavy snow.

The Meteorological Office issued a rare red warning, which indicates danger to life, in Scotland after a second day of heavy snow today. Several trains and flights have faced cancellations and delays since the start of this week, as airports around the country suspend operations to clear the snow from runways.

"We are expecting quite wide impacts from (Storm) Emma when she arrives tomorrow night. We are forecasting more snow, strong winds and freezing rain which will make driving conditions extremely dangerous," a Met Office spokesperson said.

Amber warnings, calling for people to be wary, are in place in northern and eastern England, and the East Midlands, with a number of police forces warning against driving because of poor visibility and treacherous conditions, leading to crashes and stranded motorists.

Four people are believed to have died in road crashes directly linked to the severe weather conditions across Britain.

"The Beast from the East will tighten its grip as the week goes on. Gale-force winds and super-cooled freezing rain could turn parts of the UK into an ice rink by the weekend," said Sara Thornton, director of digital weather service Weathertrending.

"So far the north and east of the country have borne the brunt of the snow, but now the arrival of Storm Emma will bring the white stuff to millions more of us on Friday. Gales will come with the snow, bringing blizzard conditions to some southern and western parts of the UK that have so far been spared the snow," she said.

The snow has forced the closure of hundreds of schools across the UK, after overnight temperatures dropped to almost -12 degrees Celsius in some areas. There are fears that some rural communities could be cut off as power cuts and mobile phone network interruptions are expected.

The Army has been drafted into Lincolnshire to help emergency services, who have stepped up their official response to "critical".

There are fears that one of this winter's longest big freezes in the UK could result in the highest death toll for 20 years.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 9:55 PM IST

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