Image: Traffic backed up in snow
Max Nash  /  AFP-Getty Images
Snow caused backups Thursday on the road to Luton Airport, north of London, England.
updated 2/5/2009 5:07:09 PM ET 2009-02-05T22:07:09

The second heavy snowfall to hit Britain this week caused major travel delays Thursday, and roads and airports in neighboring Ireland also suffered snow-related shutdowns.

Birmingham and East Midlands Airports in central England, Luton Airport north of London and Dublin Airport outside the Irish capital reported mass flight cancellations as officials struggled to keep runways clear of snow and ice.

Train operators reported delays on routes linking London with western England and Wales after up to 4 inches of snow fell overnight in south Wales and western and central England.

In London, however, it rained. The city was still recovering from its heaviest snowfall in almost 20 years on Monday, when schools were closed, public transport all but collapsed and millions of workers stayed home.

British forecasters said more heavy snow was likely Friday in London and across southern England, and predicted more travel disruptions.

The Dublin Airport Authority said more than 170 flights had to be canceled Thursday, but the airport planned to reopen Friday.

Wet snowflakes fell hard during Dublin's rush hour Thursday night, snarling roads so badly that some commuters opted to check into hotels for the night instead.

Dublin's bus operator said it had to curtail services on eight routes because of dangerous road conditions.

Ireland's forecasting service described this winter as the nation's coldest and snowiest since 1991. It said much of Ireland would be "bitterly cold, with widespread severe frost and icy patches" overnight.

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