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Heavy snow delayed, if not halted, air and ground transportation throughout England on Monday and was expected to last throughout the week, forecasters said.

Temperatures were expected to dip below freezing Monday night with black ice conditions expected on the roads Tuesday, said Andy Bodenham, a meteorologist with the Met Office in London, Britain’s national weather service.

Airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead canceled many flights Monday, and buses, trains and subways in London also shut down for much of the day for what the Met Office characterized as the most widespread snowfall in Britain in more than a decade.

"As well as the snow, it will be extremely icy by Tuesday morning. With these conditions our advice to people is that if their journey isn’t essential, then don’t venture out," Helen Chivers, spokesman for the weather service, said in a press release.

Up to 4 inches of snow was expected to mount overnight in Suffolk, where most U.S. forces in England are based at RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall. The blistery weather did not ground aircraft at either base though there were slight delays for de-icing, Air Force officials said.

Troops at RAFs Mildenhall, Croughton and Fairford were released early Monday, and schools at RAFs Croughton, Alconbury and Menwith Hill closed because of the snow, officials said.

Base safety officials warned motorists to slow down and take extra precaution on the roads, where accidents and closures snarled traffic in many areas throughout the country Monday.

"If you skid, you should steer your wheel into the direction of the skid," and don’t hit the brakes until you’ve regained traction on the road, said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Algiere, ground safety manager for the 48th Fighter Wing at Lakenheath.

After encountering a number of unprepared drivers "flirting with hypothermia" at breakdowns during the last big freeze, the U.K. Automobile association urged drivers to carry ice scrapers, warm clothes and charged cell phones in case of an emergency on the roads.

The severe weather conditions are expected to clear by Wednesday though snowfall is expected until Friday, said Bodenham.

Cold weather systems moving over England from both the Atlantic Ocean and Western Europe have created "the coldest winter we’ve seen in more than a decade," he said.

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