Snow, ice warnings remain for travelers in Britain
LONDON (AP) — Snow and ice warnings for travelers remained in place Saturday even as temperatures crept higher in Britain after days of cold.
Authorities warned rail travelers and drivers to expect ongoing disruptions even as temperatures rose above freezing for the first time in days. Heathrow Airport warned travelers to check with airlines before arriving.
Two hospitals in southwest England continued to appeal for 4x4 drivers to help get essential staff to work, saying icy roads still pose problems.
Thousands are still without power and flood warnings remain for some coastal regions.
Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell says temperatures are likely to inch up to 7 degrees Celsius (44 Fahrenheit) in the southern city of Plymouth.
“It’s still not very warm at all, but compared to what we’ve seen it will feel more comfortable,” she said.
The shift comes after a week of upheaval in a country where snow’s infrequent arrival quickly overwhelms public services. Social media has been replete with images of rail travelers stuck on trains — sometimes overnight — after thick snow paralyzed public transport.
Some travelers took matters into their own hands, opting to leave a stranded train car near Lewisham station rather than wait for help to arrive. Pictures of people jumping from rail cars prompted the British Transport Police to issue an unusual warning against “self-evacuating” from trains.
Southeastern rail turned off power in the area and called for police help with what it described as a “serious trespass incident.”
“This week we have seen a number of incidents of people self-evacuating from trains stranded due to the exceptional weather,” transport police said. “Whilst we totally understand it isn’t pleasant being trapped on a train, you are far safer on board. Self-evacuating from trains is never a good idea.”
Across the English Channel, the big chill froze canals in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. Ice on the historic Prinsengracht canal was thick enough for residents to lace up their skates and glide across its frozen surface. Tourists without skates slid across the ice, taking selfies.
“It’s just cool. You can go fast and you see the world from a slightly different perspective,” said skater Noldus Reijnders.
Mike Corder contributed from the Netherlands.