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Aftermath ~ Snow Drifts In Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear, UK
In February/March 2018 the nation was gripped by a severe spell of snow and low temperatures dubbed the "Beast from the East."
Much of winter 2018 was generally mild, but things changed dramatically during the last week of February as the UK experienced a prolonged cold snap, with widespread heavy snow. It lasted for 10 days, and was compounded by the arrival of Storm Emma. The cold started to set in on 22 February and in the days that followed, temperatures steadily dropped with sharp overnight frosts. Then the snow showers started to push in from the east. By 27 February, the mercury dropped to -11.7C overnight and many areas stayed below freezing all day. As lying snow covered much of the country many schools had to close for several days. Then the Met Office issued a rare red snow warning across central Scotland. Glasgow Airport was closed and there was widespread travel disruption. Power cuts hits thousands of homes and military assistance was deployed. As March arrived so did Storm Emma, bringing with it a second red warning, this time for parts of south-west England and south Wales.
By 4 March, temperatures slowly started to rise, but this brought a new hazard. Snow melt combined with high tides and flooding became a major issue. Frozen pipes burst as they thawed, leading to water supply problems. The clean up was costly and the severe weather was responsible for a total of 10 deaths in the UK.
The Beast From The East left its mark on the westbound carriageway of the A690, near Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear. Giant snow drifts had built up along Houghton Cut, which had to closed to traffic for a couple of days, as the prospect of snow slip became a real danger. I headed up there with my camera and documented the events that I witnessed during my 30 minute stay. Local TV crews were in attendance, as well as emergency services, who had the unenviable task of removing the overhanging ice from the road. I've lived in Houghton for 18 years and never seen anything like this. Let's hope we never see it again!