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UK

FACTBOX - Heavy snow brings transport chaos

LONDON (Reuters) - Heavy snow forced hundreds of schools to close across the country on Monday, and extreme weather conditions brought major air, rail and road transport systems to a halt, affecting millions.

The Met Office said more heavy snow would fall later, and issued severe weather warnings for much of Scotland and northeast England.

It said 5-10 cm of snow was likely, in many areas reaching 20-30cm, causing more travel disruptions especially on higher level roads.

But forecasters said the heaviest snowfall would move away from the southeast to northern parts of England on Tuesday morning.

“Our main concern now is the low temperatures and overnight ice which cause dangerous roads tomorrow. The weather conditions will stay tricky for the next couple of days,” a Met Office spokesman told Reuters.

Here are details of the disruption:

- Essex, London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex saw the heaviest snowfall with between 10 to 20 centimetres in the morning, the Met Office said.

- Hundreds of schools were closed across Essex, Kent, London, Birmingham, the West Midland, East Anglia, County Durham and Northumberland.

- Bus services normally carrying 6 million commuters in the London area were suspended.

- On the London underground only the Victoria and Waterloo & City lines were reported operating normally. The Circle and Hammersmith & City lines were closed and services were suspended on sections of the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Central, District, Jubilee and Metropolitan lines.

- London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) also experienced severe delays.

- London Mayor Boris Johnson suspended the congestion charge for motorists in the centre of the capital for the day.

- Rail travel was hit throughout southern England, particularly affecting services on First Capital Connect, First Great Western, Southeastern, and South West Trains.

- On the roads the Highways Agency advised people not to travel unless their journey was essential. Around 600 patrols and 500 gritters were on the motorways to help drivers struggling in the snow.

- There were more than 1,000 miles of traffic jams at 8:30 a.m. on major roads across the country, according to the TomTom HD Traffic service.

- The longest queue of traffic stretched 32 miles on the M25 motorway between Watford and Reigate.

- London City Airport was closed due to the icy runways.

- Heathrow Airport cancelled more than 650 flights, reopening one runway mid morning. All British Airways flights from the airport were cancelled till 5 p.m.

- Gatwick Airport to the south of London was open after earlier cancelling 20 flights. Passengers were advised to allow extra time for travel and check-in.

- At Newcastle Airport, three flights to Amsterdam, London and Paris were also cancelled and airport officials expect several delays.

- The A66 in County Durham was shut due to heavy snow and was expected to remain closed all day.

Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Tim Castle

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