Big freeze causes sea to ice over

Droitwich Advertiser: A woman exercises her dogs on the frozen sea in Poole Harbour A woman exercises her dogs on the frozen sea in Poole Harbour

The sea froze as Britain's shivering start to the year got even colder.

Southern England, normally immune to the worst of the weather, was gripped by conditions colder than parts of Iceland and Greenland as temperatures fell close to minus 12C (10.4F).

In Dorset, the sub-zero temperatures froze a half-mile stretch along the shoreline of Sandbanks, home to Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp.

Local people said it was the first time in decades the sea had partially frozen since 1991.

Across the country families ignored safety warnings and took to frozen flooded fields and lakes on ice skates.

Police in Ebbw Vale, south Wales, warned teenagers they are risking their lives by cycling across the frozen Festival Park lake, which is more than 20ft deep in some parts.

Residents in the nearby Rhondda Fach area were without normal water supplies for a second day because the cold snap has affected water pipes supplying Maerdy Water Treatment Works.

Welsh Water has apologised to customers and sent water bowsers to the area. It is also distributing water bottles to customers with special needs and parents with young babies.

Gareth Harvey, a forecaster for MeteoGroup UK, the weather division of the Press Association, said a combination of a front of freezing fog and black ice would make conditions for drivers even more perilous.

He said: "Southern England will still be coldest tonight but temperatures are unlikely to fall lower than minus 5C (23F). Fog patches will be freezing and there will still be a lot of ice. This is a dangerous combination."

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