Daily Mail – November 28, 2010
Britain shivered in record low temperatures overnight as the big freeze maintained its grip on the country, forecasters said today.
The mercury at Llysdinam near Llandrindod Wells plunged to minus 17.3C – the principality’s lowest ever temperature for November and the UK’s chilliest for the month since 1985.
With much of the country blanketed in snow, Shawbury in Shropshire also dropped to minus 12.5C, Lough Fea in Northern Ireland to minus 9.2C and Church Fenton in North Yorks bottomed out at minus 11.9C
The freezing temperatures have sparked severe weather warnings from the Met Office and the police urging motorists to stay off the roads.
Chilly lows have even attratced a rare Artic buzzard to the UK in what is believed to be the first time the bird-of-prey has been found in Britain.
The injured grey and white speckled buzzard was taken in by RSPCA staff after it was spotted hundreds of miles from home in Rookery, Lincolnshire.
Experts said that the bird-of-prey was the first ever ringed in Britain and there was little chance of seeing one again.
Michael Dukes of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the Arctic conditions were caused by a combination of light winds, snow cover and clear skies – and could see readings down to minus 20C in Scotland later this week.
‘You are seeing some ridiculously low temperatures – it has been a bit like it is in the middle of Scandinavia,’ he said.
‘There should be a bit more of a breeze over the next day or two, which will not feel quite as extreme.
‘But then we might see temperatures threaten minus 20C in the Scottish glens later.
‘This is certainly an extraordinary cold snap.’
The UK’s lowest ever recorded temperature in November was minus 23.3C recorded in Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands, on November 14, 1919.
Other places were very chilly overnight, with Drumnadrochit in the Highlands seeing minus 12C and Northolt in the London area minus 6.5C at Northolt. It was also minus 9.2C in North Dartmoor.
Parts of Scotland and north east England have already seen well over a foot of snow since the start of the cold snap last week.
Latest weather reports show that up to 4ins (10cm) of snow has fallen in parts of central England and Norfolk.
But there is up to 16ins (40cm) in parts of Northumberland, and even more in northern and eastern Scotland.
Eastern parts will bear the brunt of more wintry weather today and there is an added risk of drifting snow, thanks to the biting easterly winds. Temperatures will also struggle to get above freezing, even in the big cities.
It is believed that the bitterly cold temperatures may have attracted the rare Artcic buzzard which would not usually be found in Britain in November.
It is commonly known as the rough-legged buzzard, and is believed to be one of the first ever to have been ringed in Britain.
Staff at the Park View Vetinary Surgery a now caring for the buzzard until it can be safely released.
Practice manager Sara Allwood said: ‘It certainly brought the weather with it.’
Weirfield spokesman Alison Townsend insists the male bird will be comfortable with the cold snap after a lifetime of dealing with freezing Arctic conditions.
She said: ‘I’ve worked with wildlife for 20 years and I have never seen one before.
‘I was quite concerned that he wouldn’t survive, but after a few days, he started eating.
‘His leg is much better and he is ready to go again, so I will probably release him over the weekend, depending on the weather.’
According to experts, the Arctic buzzard – which differs from the common buzzard by its larger size, pale colours and feathered legs – migrates from the north in autumn and could well now stay in the area until next spring.
The bird will be at home for the time beingt as the severe conditions could last well into next week, forecasters have warned.
Tom Tobler of MeteoGroup said: ‘The cold weather will stay during the week with a brisk easterly wind developing which will make it feel even colder and which might bring more snow showers.’
He said there could be a mix of rain, sleet and snow later in the week, adding: ‘People should be bracing themselves for more cold weather for the working week and beyond.’
Motoring rescue service the AA said it dealt with around 15,000 breakdowns by the end of yesterday – up 80 per cent on a normal November Saturday.
Two people were injured in a four-vehicle pile-up on the M1 near Sheffield, where an inch of snow was lying on minor roads.
The East of England Ambulance Service also recorded a spate of traffic collisions, with cars skidding into ditches, lampposts, fences and fields.
Flights at some airports were delayed – including at Jersey Airport where lightning hit the radar system overnight. There were also runway closures at airports including Luton, Newcastle and Inverness.
A number of sporting events were cancelled, including race meetings and FA Cup fixtures Hartlepool United vs Yeovil Town and Notts County vs Bournemouth.
But in Allenheads, Northumberland, skiers were praying for more snow on the village’s 100m ski slope.
However, an Allenheads ski spokesman said: “There is insufficient snow in Allenheads for skiing and the road conditions are bad so we are discouraging people from trying to get up to the slope.”
In Scotland, skiers were also able to enjoy a day on the slopes yesterday.
The unusual weather has been caused by high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltic, forcing cold winds from the north east across Europe.