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Storm Darcy hits UK hard with snow, Netherlands declares emergency

Christian Fernsby |
Storm Darcy brought chaos to Britain today, with heavy snowfall of up to 12inches and 50mph winds causing crashes, rail cancellations and vaccination centre closures.

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Most of England and Scotland is now covered in snow, with temperatures plunging as low as -7C in Scotland as a 'bitterly cold' weather system swept in from Ukraine and the Black Sea.

Three of East Anglia's largest vaccination centres remained closed due to the snow today, after initially shutting their doors on Sunday.

A yellow snow warning is in place across the eastern half of the UK from first thing today until midnight on Wednesday, running from the south coast near Brighton up to the Shetlands off northern Scotland.

A more serious amber warning is in place for Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk and a small part of south-east London, where forecasters are warning of power cuts. This will last until midday today.

Rail services have also been disrupted, with Southeastern advising passengers not to travel and Greater Anglia expecting disruption until midday.

The Met Office says snow falls of up to 10cm (3.9in) will be widespread in the amber areas, increasing up to 30cm (11.8in). The heaviest snow is expected to be today before easing slightly tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Met Office has issued severe amber snow warnings for London and south-east England, where heavy snow is likely to cause long delays on roads as well as affecting rail and air travel.

Around 5cm-10cm (2in-4in) is set to fall in these areas, reaching up to 30cm (11.8in) in the worst affected regions.

Another amber warning is in place for Nottinghamshire and north to Sheffield, as well as east into Lincolnshire.

Both warnings said power cuts are likely, along with interruptions to mobile phone services.

Today, police forces in parts of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex told drivers not to travel as roads became 'impassable' due to settled snow.

Road closures were announced in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire and Hertfordshire.

Authorities in the Netherlands declared a rare “code red” emergency for the entire country as it was hit by its first proper snowstorm in more than a decade.

Storm Darcy, which has also sent temperatures plummeting across Germany, packed winds of up to 90km (55 miles) an hour and sent temperatures as low as -5C (23F).

The weather forecasting website said that a force-eight wind on Sunday night was measured in combination with snowfall, adding: “This officially means a snowstorm in our country.”

“It is the first snowstorm in a long time: the last snowstorm took place in January 2010,” it said.

Dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport while Eindhoven airport in the south of the country scrapped all services.

All trains were cancelled in the Netherlands, including international services to Germany. Trams were halted in Amsterdam, while a tram derailed in the snow in The Hague.

Motorists were advised to avoid travelling and more than 80 cars were reported to have skidded off the road.

Most parts of the country had between five and 10 centimetres (two and four inches) of snow but some areas received 30 centimetres, public broadcaster NOS said.

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