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Big freeze maintains its grip on Britain

posted 28 Nov 2010, 10:27 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 28 Nov 2010, 10:29 ]

Britain shivers in record low temperatures and the earliest widespread snowfall for almost two decades blankets many areas of the country.

The cold snap gripping Britain dragged temperatures to historic lows with Wales and Northern Ireland shivering through their coldest November night since records began, the Met Office said on Sunday (November 28).

Much of the country was blanketed in snow with parts of Scotland and north east England covered with over a foot of snow since the

start of the cold snap last week.

Temperatures sank as far as minus 18C (-0.4F) in Wales while in Scotland the mercury fell overnight to minus 15.3C (4.5F) at Loch Glascarnoch. In England a temperature of minus 13.5C (7.7F) was recorded at Topcliffe in North Yorkshire.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings of heavy snow for much of Scotland and northeast England. It said snowfalls of up to 25cm (10 inches) could accumulate on higher ground.

Motor rescue services dealt with an unusually high number of breakdowns and police recorded a spate of traffic collisions with cars skidding into ditches, lampposts, fences and fields.

A number of sporting events were affected by the bad weather. In the Scottish Premier League matches Dundee United vs Rangers and Motherwell vs Hearts were postponed after pitches became unplayable.

But some skiers were able to enjoy a day on the slopes and children took their sledges to the slopes.

The cold and snow is forecast to last for a number of days, accompanied by severe frosts and icy conditions.

Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands, holds the prize for the UK's lowest ever recorded November temperature. The mercury there plummeted to minus 23.3C (-9.9F) on November 14, 1919.