Deaths by freezing as well as floods, and heavy snowfalls, painted a bleak weather picture in northern Europe on New Year's Day.
BBC's Tony Scase reporting in East Anglia, GV damaged pier (FIVE SHOTS)
GV sign pointing to North Walsham in North Norfolk, with snowdrift
GV snow-clearing operations (FOUR SHOTS)
GV snow-blocked country road
BBC's Chris Denham reporting from South West England, GV house damaged by storm in Tor Cross (THREE SHOTS)
GV machines clearing snow (TWO SHOTS)
BBC's Mike McKay reporting from the south East, GV motorists digging out stalled vehicles (THREE SHOTS)
GV floods n Sheerness (THREE SHOTS)
AV West Germany snow-covered building and countryside
AV train stranded in snow
AV people stranded on bridge and many stalled vehicles on motorway
AV Army tank moves through snow past stranded vehicles
SCASE: "At Walton-on-the-Naze, the three-quarter of a mile (one and a half kilometres) long pier was broken in half after being lashed by the roughest seas on the Essex coast for years. A 180-foot (164.5 metre) section fell into the sea, putting out of action the town's lifeboat moored at the end. And at nearby Clacton, storms caused damage amounting to a hundred thousand pounds (about 200,000 U.S. dollars) at the town's famous pier.
In North Norfolk, some villages are still cut off by snowdrifts up to twelve feet (3.6 metres) deep.
Teams of highway workers joined by men from local farms are working around the clock tackling mountains of snow. They have been hampered by sightseers who have become stuck in snow drifts. But tonight the Country Council said it was slowly winning the fight to clear the snow and re-open roads to isolated villages."
DENHAM: "At tor Cross in Devon part of a seafront house was demolished by a combination of gale-force winds and heavy seas. The owner of the house, a coastguard, was away at the time. the storms also demolished the sea road and wall. Local residents had to be evacuated at the height of the storm. And because of the snow, workmen have only just reached the town to make repairs.
Inland, some main roads in Devon and Cornwall have now been cleared, but many minor roads are still blocked, and dozens of small villages remain cut off. In Devon, which has more road mileage than any other country in Britain, over a thousand men have been working today with some five hundred snow-clearing machines."
McKAY: "In parts of Kent many main roads were blocked and motorists who attempted journeys found themselves letting in the new year stranded in the snow. These rescue efforts went on in Thanet where drifts developed up to six feet (1.8 metres).
London had its coldest night in 16 years. In the coastal town of Sheerness, there were different problems, perhaps a foretaste of what is to come elsewhere when the snow thaws. Flooding up to four feet (1.2 metres) occurred in the town centre."
REPORTERS: TONY SCASE/CHRIS DENHAM/MIKE MCKAY
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Deaths by freezing as well as floods, and heavy snowfalls, painted a bleak weather picture in northern Europe on New Year's Day. In Moscow, the freeze was described as ferocious, while in Paris, freezing fog added to the problems caused by snow. Parts of Finland had their coldest day for a century, Iceland reported its heaviest snowfall for twenty-six years, and public transport ground to a halt in parts of Britain and the continent. Three BBC reporters give this account of the widespread damage and disruption in the U.K.
SYNOPSIS: In isolated communities in West Germany, appeals were made to those with fuel to give refuge to neighbours without heating, and if necessary to house them with livestock to take advantage of the heat given off by animals. All means of communication, including rail services, were hampered or completely halted. In West Berlin, road and rail links to West Germany were cut.
In the worst-hit areas, cars were banned from the roads, while people already stranded were rescued. In one state, the Red Cross helped about a thousand people from cars and trains. While weathermen said conditions would get worse, the northern area suffered temperatures of minus twenty-five degrees Centigrade (minus thirteen Fahrenheit). Thousands of soldiers with army vehicles ranging from Leopard main battle tanks to personnel carriers, moved in to aid motorists and restore services.