Blizzard hits England, France and Belgium

March 13, 2013 at 12:41 AM
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LONDON, March 13 (UPI) -- Hundreds of drivers got stuck in southeastern England as a blizzard fouled roads Tuesday on both sides of the English Channel, police said.

Cross-Channel service on the Eurostar trains was suspended, The Guardian reported. Many other trains were canceled.

The blizzard that began Monday night caused problems as far north as Cumbria in northwestern England and as far west as Somerset and southern Wales. But the worst problems were reported in Kent and Sussex on the southeast coast and in northern France and Belgium.

The Oscar Wilde, operated by Irish Ferries, spent the night off shore near Cherbourg, France, after failing to dock at the port. High seas and problems with the hydraulic locks on the doors caused additional delays for 500 passengers Tuesday morning.

At least three people in England were reported injured by falling trees and branches. One man was reported to be in critical condition in a London hospital.

Snow on the roads caused massive traffic jams in England. Christopher Kingswood, a police officer helping stranded drivers, had to take shelter in a police box when he got stuck himself.

In Kent and Sussex, farmers and construction contractors came to the aid of drivers, using tractors and construction equipment on roads unreachable by snowplows.

Major airports, including Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Frankfort in Germany reported major delays and canceled flights. The airport on Jersey in the Channel Islands shut down.

Organizers of the daffodil festival in Thriplow, Hertfordshire, said it will go ahead this weekend as scheduled but without the daffodils. Next year, the festival will be held later after four years in which late wintry weather has led to earlier spring flowers being featured.

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