Hundreds prepare for third night with no power in Cumbria after heavy snow

Hundreds of homes and businesses have spent a second day without power in freezing conditions in Cumbria after heavy snow caused extensive damage to the energy network.

The heaviest blizzard in years forced the closure of dozens of schools across the county while more than 500 properties prepared for a third night without power.

Volunteers from the British Red Cross took emergency supplies, such as hot drinks, food and blankets, to those affected.

Although temperatures in large parts of Cumbria climbed to above OC (32F) on Monday, taking into account the wind chill factor it would still have felt freezing for many.

Electricity North West said it expected to reconnect 99% of customers to the grid by the end of Monday, although dozens may be without power until late Tuesday.

Stephanie Trubshaw, Electricity North West’s customer director, said up to 30cm of snow had brought down power lines across Cumbria and that “new extensive damage” was being reported to the firm in remote areas that had been hard to reach.

Parts of Lake District hit by heavy snow – video

Trubshaw said engineers had been “battling treacherous conditions” to reconnect homes in some of the most remote parts of England.

She said: “We understand this is an extremely difficult situation for all of our customers who have been impacted and we are working tirelessly to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Met Office announced a yellow weather warning for ice across northern Scotland and said there was the potential for disruption to travel. It also warned of heavy rain for the east coast of England on Tuesday.

More than 7,000 homes and businesses were left without power after a blizzard dumped up to a metre (3ft) of snow on some parts of Cumbria on Saturday.

Police declared a major incident and a multi-agency response was launched after the Met Office had issued an amber warning for snow.

The severe weather left hundreds of people stranded overnight in emergency shelters after they had to abandon their cars.

More than 50 schools across Cumbria were closed on Monday due to the conditions, which turned icy overnight. About a dozen schools in the north-east of Scotland also had to close.

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The Lake District had been busy with daytrippers when the snow deluge began on Saturday, taking many people – including the emergency services – by surprise.

Scattered show showers had been forecast for the area but the blizzard became stronger when opposing winds converged over the Irish sea, dumping more snow over a longer period of time.

David Taylor, an emergency response officer for the British Red Cross, said he and three other volunteers had been using four-wheel drive vehicles to take hot drinks, food and blankets to those affected.

He told the BBC: “We are also going out to provide a listening ear to people. These situations can be very traumatic especially for older people who may be in a situation where they haven’t had power for a few days.”

Met Office spokesperson Grahame Madge said the risk of snow was now lessening and would “more or less be confined to Scottish mountains” by the end of the week.

He said: “Temperatures are rising from below average now to above average. Overnight [on Monday], in parts of the north, frost remains still a risk. Tomorrow could see frost from Scotland down into central southern England. In general, conditions will be more wet and windy.”


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