Luton closed for snow clearance

In recent years, the British winter has been cold and unfriendly, closing schools and factories and spitting snow at old ladies in the street. February in particular has brought some of the coldest days on record, and this year looks to be no different.

Snow plough clearing the runway at Luton Airport

On Monday morning, London Luton airport was temporarily shut down after an unexpected snow flurry made the runway treacherous.

Crews worked for four hours on the snow clearance mission, removing snow and ice from aeroplanes and runways, before finally reopening the terminal at midday. 10 airlines experienced delays, including Ryanair and Flybe.

Elsewhere, airports in Leicestershire, Cheshire and Suffolk were also struggling to keep their passengers warm, and both Manchester and East Midlands airports suffered cancellations.

In Scotland, temperatures plunged to -15 degrees, whilst Belfast Airport struggled to contend with a broken de-icing machine, leaving pilots to sweep the ice from a plane with an ordinary broom.

Meteorologists have predicted another fortnight of bad weather, perhaps rivalling December’s snowstorm, as the Met Office prepares to announce the coldest winter for 30 years.

Dave Elliot, a national forecaster at the weather service, was feeling pessimistic, stating that the weather "is going to stay over the weekend". He also said that we’re seeing a "block pattern" this winter, in that the cold weather "started in the second week of December and we’ve not been able to shift the cooler air away”.

UK airports continue to warn of delays and cancellations. Travellers are encouraged to contact their airline before setting out, especially if the local weather looks bleak. However, all airports are currently operating as normal.

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