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March may be coldest for 50 years
Recent harsh weather conditions blighting Britain are thought to have claimed their first victim, as forecasters warned this month could be the coldest March in 50 years.
Police investigating whether Susan Norman, who is in her 60s, is trapped inside her home in Looe, Cornwall, after part of the property collapsed when it was hit by a landslide and floodwater on Thursday night believe there is a body inside.
Thousands of schools are shut and transport has been disrupted across the country as any hopes of spring are dashed by yet another onslaught of snow and flooding, prompting a string of warnings from Government agencies.
More flooding is expected in the South West as Thursday's heavy rain continues, while further north, snow blanketed many areas with up to 8in (20.3cm) expected to hit the worst-affected parts of north-west England, North Wales and south west Scotland.
John Lee, forecaster with MeteoGroup, said it could be the coldest March in 50 years. He said the average temperature expected for central England at this time of year is 6C (42.8F), but so far this month the average is 2.2 degrees below that - at 3.8C (38.8F).
That is significantly colder than last March, when averages were 8.3C (46.9F) - 2.3 degrees above the expected average.
"Comparing it to similar winters, it's provisionally going to be the coldest March in 50 years, although that can't be confirmed until we reach the end of the month," Mr Lee said.
He referred to 1962 - when average temperatures were even colder, at 2.8C (37F), adding: "That will take some beating. But the way we are going it looks like we are heading towards being the coldest March since then."
More snow is forecast for many areas, he said, but gradually, by the end of Saturday and the end of Sunday, it will be mostly dry.
The Environment Agency has warned of further flooding in south west England because of persistent and heavy rain, with southern parts of Cornwall and Devon most at risk.