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    Storms leave up to 63,000 without power


    by ODN


    Around 63,000 homes have been left without power as severe winter storms battered parts of the UK for a second day.

    Blizzards, gale force winds and torrential rain have hit Scotland and Northern Ireland, knocking down power lines and wreaking transport havoc.

    The Met Office has issued extreme weather warnings for the two regions, forecasting more severe blizzards and severe drifting snow up to 50cm (20in) deep in parts.

    During the distinctly un-spring-like conditions, temperatures will remain close to zero through the day, with experts predicting possible snow flurries across high areas of England and Wales.

    Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said 30,000 customers were cut off on Tuesday night after damage to its network. The power firm said the biggest disruption was in Omagh, Enniskillen, Dungannon, Londonderry, Coleraine and Ballymena.

    Around 150 people also had to be rescued from cars trapped in snow on the Glenshane Pass near Londonderry, with police, mountain rescue and coastguards drafted in for the operation.

    Scotland saw around 22,000 homes suffer power cuts on Tuesday, with North Ayrshire the worst hit, but most properties have been reconnected.

    People living in north-east Scotland are suffering some of the country's worst weather, with gale force northerly blizzards whipping up snow drifts.

    Snow ploughs and gritters were out across the country after cars and lorries became stranded in snow.