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Snow Blankets London As Bitter Cold Grips Northern Europe

A blast of arctic air caused a burst of late-season snow and resulted in the cancellation of numerous flights in London.

A blast of Arctic air helped unleash a burst of late-season snow and forced the cancellation of dozens of flights in London and elsewhere across northern Europe on Wednesday. According to AccuWeather forecasters, more snow and frigid air are on the way.

For parts of the United Kingdom, the wintry weather represented the coldest air of the season thus far, despite spring’s imminent arrival in just two weeks. It also delivered snow to places that typically receive only a small amount in March, including London.

Londoners awoke to a light coating of snow on Wednesday morning, the first snow in the city since Dec. 11, the only other day snow has accumulated there this winter. Meanwhile, the temperature in the village of Kinbrace, located in the Scottish Highlands, plunged to just 4 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 degrees Celsius below zero), making it the lowest temperature of the winter in the U.K., so far. It was also the lowest temperature recorded in the U.K in March since 2010, according to the Met Office.

As March snow falls on south London, period homes are seen with white rooftops on a street bordering Ruskin Park, a public green space in Lambeth, on 8th March 2023, in London, England. RICHARD BAKER/GETTY IMAGES

Air travel was disrupted by the snow, as Bristol Airport in the southwestern part of England closed for a time, and flights into and out of London’s Gatwick Airport were delayed, according to The Associated Press. At Heathrow International, at least 25 flights were canceled due to the snow, The Daily Express reported.

In Wales, dozens of schools were closed, allowing children a day off to play in the snow. Webcams painted picturesque scenes all across the U.K. from Abbey Road in London to Milford Haven in Wales.

“The steady snow fell on southern England from Tuesday night into early Wednesday, with some locations tallying 1 to 3 inches or 3 to 8 centimeters,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyssa Smithmyer. There were localized reports close to 4 inches (10 cm (0.33 feets)).

At Heathrow, it was the first measurable snow in March since 2018, when the memorable “Beast from the East” storm occurred. That storm system brought an extended period of temperatures that were near and below the freezing mark, as well as a few tenths of an inch of snow (about 1 cm) to the London area.

In a typical March, London has two days with snow and only about 0.8 of an inch (about 2 cm) of accumulation, according to AccuWeather lead European forecaster Tyler Roys. Prior to Wednesday, only 0.4 of an inch (about 1 cm) of snow had fallen all winter there.

The U.K. is not the only European country that has been forced to deal with harsh cold and snow. A dip in the jet stream recently allowed similar weather conditions to spread across northern Europe.

“A sudden warming event in the Earth’s stratosphere has led to bitter cold all across northern Europe since late last month,” Smithmyer said. “This most recent storm has reinforced that colder air from southern England to the Netherlands and northern Germany.”

Amber warnings for heavy snow were in place across northern and central England on Wednesday, March 8. ACCUWEATHER

AccuWeather forecasters say there is more wintry weather on the way, as a second, larger storm will move in late in the week.

“The next storm will track over Wales and England and into north-central Europe,” said Smithmyer. “The temperatures will be a little higher compared to the first storm, likely limiting any snow and gusty winds to central and northern parts of the U.K. this time around.”

The Met Office issued an “amber warning” for portions of the central and northern U.K. ahead of the next storm from Thursday into Friday, warning that 4 inches to 8 inches (10-20 cm (0.66 feet)) of snow can fall, with localized amounts to 16 inches (40 cm (1.31 feet)) possible. The Met Office also noted that strong easterly winds could lead to blizzard conditions and drifting snow.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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