December 1, 2010 / 11:04 AM / 9 years ago

Snow closes UK's Gatwick airport, snarls roads

LONDON (Reuters) - Heavy snow grounded all flights at Gatwick airport south of London on Wednesday, while the worst early winter weather in almost two decades also caused severe delays on roads and rail lines up and down Britain.

A man clears his car of snow at Bowburn, northern England November 28, 2010. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)

In Scotland, Edinburgh airport was closed because of heavy snow showers. London’s smaller City airport said its runway was operating, but some flights had been cancelled.

Police in the southern countries of Kent and Surrey advised motorists not to travel unless their journey was absolutely essential, with severe delays reported on the M25 London orbital motorway which passes through the counties.

Much of Britain has been blanketed with heavy snow, with bitter winds adding to the misery.

“Due to severe weather conditions, there are currently no departing and arriving flights at Gatwick,” the airport said in a statement on its website.

“The runway will remain closed until at least 06:00 (0600 GMT) Thursday 2nd December,” it added, advising travellers not to set out for the airport.

The Highways Agency also said there were delays on the busy M1 motorway in the East Midlands and on the A1 near the Yorkshire town of Catterick.

Eurostar rail services between London and continental Europe were suffering delays of up to 30 minutes.

Britain, which last year had its coldest winter in 30 years, has not seen such widespread early snowfall since 1993.

There was no immediate sign of a thaw, with further snow forecast on Wednesday in eastern Scotland and eastern, central and southern England. (Reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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