Snow, ice storm in Britain snarls travel in Europe
LONDON — The Christmas travel season turned angry and chaotic Monday as British officials struggled to clear snow and ice that paralyzed rail and air links and spawned cancellations and delays stranding thousands around the world.
More than 48 hours after Britain’s last snowfall, some furious passengers with boarding passes for Monday flights were not even allowed into London’s Heathrow Airport. Inside, piles of garbage grew and some people slept on terminal floors.
Other travelers waited in the cold for up to six hours to get inside London’s St. Pancras train station, where they had to wait still longer for Eurostar trains to mainland Europe.
Chagrined British officials promised an inquiry into the failure to clear the remnants of a storm that dumped five inches over parts of England Saturday morning. Other European airports rebounded from weekend snowfall and resumed close to normal flight schedules by Monday.
“It can’t be beyond the wit of man surely to find the shovels, the diggers, the snowplows or whatever it takes to clear the snow out from under the planes, to get the planes moving and to have more than one runway going,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said as British Airways canceled its Monday short-haul schedule from Heathrow.
Forecasters have said Britain is experiencing some of the most severe winter weather in a century, with continued freezing temperatures and snowfall accumulations expected Monday afternoon and evening. Experts said the extreme weather may be relatedtoclimatechangedue toglobalwarming.