UK weather: Travel chaos as Met Office warns of icy roads and fog

Snow will fall in London tomorrow with up to four inches expected in the South East as Britons endured another day of icy chaos and temperatures plunged to nearly -12C (10F) on England’s coldest morning of the winter so far.

The Met Office has issued a snow warning from 3am to 8pm tomorrow covering the whole capital, with 1in (3cm) expected to fall widely over the South East and up to 4in (10cm) possible in East Anglia and over higher ground.

Forecasters warned a the band of heavy snow will bring disruption as it moves eastwards, amid fears over rural communities becoming cut off, power cuts, cancellations to trains and delays on roads stranding motorists.  

A band of rain will move eastwards tomorrow and turn to snow as it runs into cold air over the South East. Snow levels will gradually rise for many from the west, with East Anglia, Kent and Sussex expected to be worst hit.

The Met Office added that flooding is also a major risk for many areas this weekend given the recent wet weather and high river levels for many areas. There are also fears that the conditions could affect mobile phone networks.

Covered by the warning are London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire, Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.  

Today, people travelling during the lockdown were told to expect more ‘tricky’ conditions as ice and freezing fog brought further hazards one day after heavy snowfall caused major disruption in northern England and Scotland.

Efforts to press on with the coronavirus vaccine rollout and treatment continued despite the snow, with Leeds University delaying the opening of its asymptomatic test centre and telling those who are later will still be seen. 

Over-80s who were due to receive their vaccine at Newcastle’s Centre for Life were told they could re-book rather than risk making a trip in the icy conditions. Newcastle Hospitals tweeted: ‘There’s enough vaccine for everyone.’

The Met Office had earlier put out an ice warning this morning for all of Scotland and most of England with the mercury plunging to as low as -11.8C (10.8F) in the North Yorkshire village of Ravensworth at 9am today.

Forecasters said the rain, sleet and snow would be dying out, leaving icy surfaces and difficult travel conditions amid concerns of people falling over on slippery pavements and motorists skidding on untreated roads.

People across the country awoke to a widespread frost and temperatures hovering around freezing this morning, with the mercury unlikely to get above 5C (41F) in London today before dropping back to 0C (32F) tonight.

Emma McPartland (front) and Hannah Coulthart go sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Perthshire this afternoon

Emma McPartland (front) and Hannah Coulthart go sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Perthshire this afternoon

Emma McPartland (front) and Hannah Coulthart go sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Perthshire this afternoon

A van stops in the snow in Leeds this morning as hazardous conditions continue to affect motorists in West Yorkshire

A van stops in the snow in Leeds this morning as hazardous conditions continue to affect motorists in West Yorkshire

A van stops in the snow in Leeds this morning as hazardous conditions continue to affect motorists in West Yorkshire

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle was closed after multiple crashes this morning amid black ice

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle was closed after multiple crashes this morning amid black ice

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle was closed after multiple crashes this morning amid black ice

Snow covers the landscape in West Yorkshire this morning as more flurries are on the way for the country tomorrow

Snow covers the landscape in West Yorkshire this morning as more flurries are on the way for the country tomorrow

Snow covers the landscape in West Yorkshire this morning as more flurries are on the way for the country tomorrow

Vehicles negotiate a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leciestershire, today with swathes of England covered by flood alerts

Vehicles negotiate a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leciestershire, today with swathes of England covered by flood alerts

Vehicles negotiate a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leciestershire, today with swathes of England covered by flood alerts

A runner goes for a job in the snow in Leeds this morning as the country experiences further sub-zero conditions

A runner goes for a job in the snow in Leeds this morning as the country experiences further sub-zero conditions

A runner goes for a job in the snow in Leeds this morning as the country experiences further sub-zero conditions

Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this morning for the second time in a month after the River Great Ouse burst its banks

Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this morning for the second time in a month after the River Great Ouse burst its banks

Flooding at St Ives in Cambridgeshire this morning for the second time in a month after the River Great Ouse burst its banks

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning after flurries over the past few days

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning after flurries over the past few days

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning after flurries over the past few days

The River Roding after it burst its banks in Abridge, Essex, today as more severe weather is on the way this weekend

The River Roding after it burst its banks in Abridge, Essex, today as more severe weather is on the way this weekend

The River Roding after it burst its banks in Abridge, Essex, today as more severe weather is on the way this weekend

Nearly 200 areas of the country remain on flood watch as well, with the Environment Agency issuing 144 flood alerts and 43 more serious warnings for England – while Natural Resources Wales has put out two alerts.

A separate 18-hour weather warning for snow and ice has been issued for most of Scotland and northern England tomorrow, from midnight until 6pm, with the Met Office warning up to 8in (20cm) could fall on higher routes.

An area of rain pushing eastwards will turn to snow, with forecasters warning of travel delays of roads with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel and a chance of power cuts.

The rain will turn to snow as it encounters colder air across Scotland and parts of northern and eastern England, and at first the main hazard may be rain falling onto frozen surfaces leading to ice.

Snow will become more likely during the early morning, with heavier snowfall most likely above 650ft (200m) in Scotland and northern England, where 2in (5cm) to 4in (10cm) may accumulate, possibly 8in (20cm) even higher.

The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm tomorrow

The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm tomorrow

The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm tomorrow

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

Vehicles being towed away and cars on the side verges in the Wallsend area of North Tyneside this morning

Vehicles being towed away and cars on the side verges in the Wallsend area of North Tyneside this morning

Vehicles being towed away and cars on the side verges in the Wallsend area of North Tyneside this morning

A train passes over the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, which has flooded the surrounding fields today

A train passes over the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, which has flooded the surrounding fields today

A train passes over the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, which has flooded the surrounding fields today

A woman walks her dog in the wintry conditions in Manchester this morning as the severe weather continues

A woman walks her dog in the wintry conditions in Manchester this morning as the severe weather continues

A woman walks her dog in the wintry conditions in Manchester this morning as the severe weather continues

A flooded Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning after the Alconbury Brook burst its banks

A flooded Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning after the Alconbury Brook burst its banks

A flooded Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning after the Alconbury Brook burst its banks

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning as the Met Office warned of further flurries tomorrow

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning as the Met Office warned of further flurries tomorrow

Snow and mist at Beeley Moor in Derbyshire this morning as the Met Office warned of further flurries tomorrow

People walk in the snow at Gleneagles in Auchterarder today as parts of the UK continue to face severe weather

People walk in the snow at Gleneagles in Auchterarder today as parts of the UK continue to face severe weather

People walk in the snow at Gleneagles in Auchterarder today as parts of the UK continue to face severe weather

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as people go out for their morning exercise

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as people go out for their morning exercise

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as people go out for their morning exercise

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire, this afternoon

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire, this afternoon

People sledging on the golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire, this afternoon

Met Office chief meteorologist Steven Ramsdale said: ‘A milder air mass will move eastwards across the UK early tomorrow. But when this warmer, more moist air encounters the cold air situated over eastern parts of the UK snow is likely to fall.

Bad weather halts Libby Squire murder trial for the second day in a row

The trial of a butcher accused of raping and murdering a 21-year-old student has been called off for the day due to the wintry conditions, for the second day running.

One of the jurors in the trial of Pawel Relowicz was unable to get to Sheffield Crown Court today due to the weather, the judge told the members of the panel who could make it in.

Polish-born Relowicz, 26, of Hull, denies raping and murdering philosophy student Libby Squire on February 1, 2019. Mrs Justice Lambert told the panel the case could not continue despite strenuous efforts to help the ‘marooned’ juror travel.

She said the restrictions around coronavirus had defeated all efforts to find a transport solution. The case was also postponed yesterday when three jurors failed to make it through the wintry conditions in Sheffield.

The judge told 11 of the jurors today: ‘She is marooned in her estate and the car can’t get up to get her.’ She said: ‘I’m very sorry about this. It’s not been for want of trying.’ The judge added: ‘We keep our fingers crossed that there is a thaw over the weekend so the ice and snow has gone.’

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‘Whilst the high ground in the north is likely to see the largest accumulations some snow is likely to fall to low levels at times. In fact, parts of east England and East Anglia look most at risk of seeing 1-3 cm with 5-10 cm possible in places.

‘The milder air will eventually win out with the initial snow gradually turning to rain. This may also bring some flooding issues following recent wet weather and with snow then melting – though the snow looks to be the greater hazard.’

The Met Office published Department for Transport advice advising people to clear snow and ice from footpaths outside their homes. ‘You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight,’ it said.

Today, freezing fog and sub-zero temperatures saw an icy start which led to a loss of gas supply to about 700 homes in the Hebden Bridge area pf West Yorkshire. Water had got into the local gas network and frozen.

Engineers from Northern Gas Networks trying to restore the supply found a large plug of frozen water in one of the pipes. Cars drove through flooded roads in Leicestershire, while in Essex the River Roding in Essex burst its banks.

Meanwhile Brighter Futures, which supports people with homelessness, mental health and other complex needs, said its severe weather emergency procedure is active due to the cold weather forecast.

It provides homes, hostels and health services in the Midlands and is giving emergency accommodation for everyone it sees, including people who are sleeping rough in Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: ‘Saturday is the next day we could potentially see some snow.

‘Into next week it’s quite uncertain but it looks like temperatures will be around average to start with – so not particularly cold.

‘But, towards the end of the week there are signs we could potentially see further snowfall across northern parts of the country.’

Cyclists make their way through flood water on Mountnessing Road in Billericay, Essex, this afternoon

Cyclists make their way through flood water on Mountnessing Road in Billericay, Essex, this afternoon

Cyclists make their way through flood water on Mountnessing Road in Billericay, Essex, this afternoon

A person walks along the snow covered golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

A person walks along the snow covered golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

A person walks along the snow covered golf course at Gleneagles in Auchterarder in Perthshire this afternoon

A beautiful misty sunrise behind Winter Hill and over low lying fog near Chorley in Lancashire this morning

A beautiful misty sunrise behind Winter Hill and over low lying fog near Chorley in Lancashire this morning

A beautiful misty sunrise behind Winter Hill and over low lying fog near Chorley in Lancashire this morning

Cars, buses and vans are driven through Manchester this morning as the city is covered in frost and thick fog

Cars, buses and vans are driven through Manchester this morning as the city is covered in frost and thick fog

Cars, buses and vans are driven through Manchester this morning as the city is covered in frost and thick fog

The stables have flooded at Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning following heavy rain

The stables have flooded at Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning following heavy rain

The stables have flooded at Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire this morning following heavy rain

Two people go for exercise at Parliament Hill in London today as snow is forecast for the capital tomorrow

Two people go for exercise at Parliament Hill in London today as snow is forecast for the capital tomorrow

Two people go for exercise at Parliament Hill in London today as snow is forecast for the capital tomorrow

Blackpool Tower breaks through the morning freezing fog in Lancashire as severe conditions hit the seaside resort today

Blackpool Tower breaks through the morning freezing fog in Lancashire as severe conditions hit the seaside resort today

Blackpool Tower breaks through the morning freezing fog in Lancashire as severe conditions hit the seaside resort today

Flooded fields next to the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, are pictured this afternoon

Flooded fields next to the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, are pictured this afternoon

Flooded fields next to the River Great Ouse in Haversham, Buckinghamshire, are pictured this afternoon

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as motorists and pedestrians are warned to take extra care

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as motorists and pedestrians are warned to take extra care

Frost and thick fog cover Manchester this morning as motorists and pedestrians are warned to take extra care

Wind turbines are seen peaking out of the top of low lying clouds over Lancashire this afternoon

Wind turbines are seen peaking out of the top of low lying clouds over Lancashire this afternoon

Wind turbines are seen peaking out of the top of low lying clouds over Lancashire this afternoon

Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog

Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog

Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog

It comes after up to 6in (15cm) of snow fell in the North of England yesterday, leading to picture postcard scenes but also crashes, skids and prangs. 

2020 was the second hottest year on record 

Most of us didn’t manage a foreign holiday last year, but at least there was one consolation – it was the second hottest 12 months on record.

Global temperatures in 2020 were on average around 1.28C above those in the second half of the 19th century.

It was just a fraction of a degree below the record hottest year of 2016, when average temperatures were 1.29C above pre-industrial levels.

Under the international Paris Agreement, countries have pledged to limit warming to 2C above 1800s levels.

The analysis was carried out by the Met Office, University of East Anglia and the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science. 

Dr Colin Morice, from the Met Office, said: ‘It is a sign of the continued impact of human-induced climate change.’

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A double decker bus slid across a road in Halifax, West Yorkshire, while a car ended up wrapped around a pole in nearby Outlane.

More than 600 schools had to close and the weather brought havoc to the Covid vaccination drive, with some centres forced to shut or postpone appointments.

But for some it was a chance for a little fun in the snow, with youngsters leaping on toboggans in Penicuik, Scotland. Flurries fell as far south as Suffolk.

South eastern areas too mild for snow were not spared, as heavy rain led to flooding. Rivers including the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire burst their banks.

Severe weather closed more than 600 schools which had stayed open for key workers’ children, mostly in West and South Yorkshire. 

Staff at the Fenn Bell Inn in Hoo, Kent, battled to salvage furniture after it was flooded. 

Connor Gordon, one of those trying to save the pub’s possessions, said: ‘The building is ruined, nearly a foot of water inside, it’s even deeper outside. The ditches are full and bursting, the roads are flooded and getting worse.’

Elderly patients due to receive Covid jabs at Newcastle’s Centre for Life mass vaccination hub were advised to rebook their appointments to avoid the bad weather.

The Newcastle NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust tweeted: ‘It’s easy to do by calling 119. No need to risk travelling in the bad weather.’ 

And all vaccinations at the Priory Campus in Barnsley had to be postponed from 3pm, with patients advised not to travel. 

Snow caused problems for ambulance services in Yorkshire who struggled to keep up with the high demand.

Weather warning today

Weather warning today

Weather warning tomorrow

Weather warning tomorrow

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for ice this morning (left) and another for snow and ice tomorrow (right)

Mark Millins, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, urged people to ‘take extra care’ when out walking or driving. 

Hold your horses… lots more snow on the way 

Heavy snow brought transport chaos yesterday but at least some had the horsepower to cope.

For Stephanie Anderson it was a chance for a gallop with Clydesdale horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

The Clydesdales are working horses and help plough the land for her family’s market gardening business, and they are also used for events such as weddings.

On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire

On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire

On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire

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A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The highest accumulations of snow were in North East England, where 15cm (6in) was recorded at Copley, County Durham.’ He said snow was recorded as far south as Lakenheath and Marham, in Suffolk. 

Main roads in Scotland yesterday were brought to a standstill, particularly in areas with an amber ‘be prepared’ weather warning. In Dunblane, Perthshire, one resident said the only traffic was sledges.

In Renfrewshire, drivers abandoned their cars after a number of accidents blocked local roads. 

One motorist thanked locals on Church Road in Giffnock for bringing her tea following a dramatic three-car crash. She wrote on social media: ‘Don’t think I will see my car again.’

On the Stewarton Road, linking south Glasgow with Newton Mearns, cars were abandoned, while police used their vehicles to block off roads.

Train services between Glasgow and East Kilbride were suspended for a while after a vehicle crashed into a railway bridge in Busby.   

Heavy snowfall blocked the A9 southbound at Dunblane, with traffic being diverted through the town. Those aged over 80 had been invited to get their Covid vaccination in the town’s Victoria Hall but many thought it unsafe to leave the house.

Twenty Perthshire primary schools and nurseries closed and were unable to accommodate the children of key workers.

One Dunblane resident said: ‘We feel we have been cut off. There’s almost a foot of snow here. The only traffic moving on our street are the sledges.’ 

Traffic Scotland warned drivers of ‘difficult driving conditions’ on the A82 between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. An accident on the M9 closed the Friarton Bridge, with traffic being diverted through Perth.

Police Scotland’s road policing unit has warned against drivers travelling in the wintry weather.

Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: ‘Government restrictions on travelling remain in place across Scotland because of the ongoing pandemic.

‘People should not leave their homes unless for essential purposes and work from home where possible. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.

‘In the current wintry weather please consider if your journey is exempt under the regulations and also if it really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.’  

A van on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as nearly 200 areas of the UK remain on flood watch

A van on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as nearly 200 areas of the UK remain on flood watch

A van on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as nearly 200 areas of the UK remain on flood watch

A horse in a frosty field on a cold morning in the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A horse in a frosty field on a cold morning in the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A horse in a frosty field on a cold morning in the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A Land Rover Defender drives through a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning

A Land Rover Defender drives through a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning

A Land Rover Defender drives through a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle has been closed today following multiple crashes

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle has been closed today following multiple crashes

The A1058 Coast Road between North Shields and Newcastle has been closed today following multiple crashes

A car on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as the country continues to experience severe weather

A car on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as the country continues to experience severe weather

A car on a flooded road in Bottesford, Leicestershire, this morning as the country continues to experience severe weather

Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire

Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire

Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire

Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads

Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads

Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads

Much of yesterday's snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists

Much of yesterday's snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists

Much of yesterday’s snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists

After the latest weather front passes, Atlantic-dominated weather will become established, bringing moister and warmer air with rain dominating. This will confine snowfall to the highest elevations in the north.

Nick Silkstone, deputy chief meteorologist, said: ‘During Monday and Tuesday we will see large rainfall totals across the high ground of western Britain. This rainfall combined with snowmelt will lead to a high volume of water moving through river catchments in these regions.’

During Wednesday, an area of low-pressure anchored in the North Sea will establish a northerly air flow coming into the UK, heralding a return to colder conditions, with wintry showers over higher ground.

Those fearing a return of the Beast from the East – the Siberian weather system that brought heavy snow in February and March 2018 – can rest easy after the Met Office said it is unlikely to roar back in the coming weeks.

Group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire build 10ft fall snowman near their homes

A group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire have spread a bit of joy by building a 10ft tall snowman near their homes.

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen in their shared garden yesterday. The snowman, which was the first she had ever built, made her feel like she was ‘reliving her youth’.

A team of five people, including her neighbours Dawn, Darren and Jack Roberts, as well as her son Alfie, ten, moulded the snowman limb by limb in a joint effort in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Jack, who is 6ft 3in, was tasked with completing the snowman’s head and was hoisted up in the air by his mother who held a small step ladder by the base of the snowman.

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the 'tallest snowman' she'd ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the 'tallest snowman' she'd ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire

Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire

The friendly neighbours wore masks and maintained a 6ft (2m) distance between them at all times to comply with social distancing measures. Ms Younger said Alfie played in the snow for the whole day, from 9am until 6pm.

Ms Younger, who is originally from Brighton, said: ‘We saw the snow once we woke up, my son was straight out the doors making snowmen. My neighbour was clearing the path and my son started launching snowballs, as you do.

‘He said he was going to make a snowman, if we could help we were more than welcome to. It was challenging but fun. It was a team effort. It was just reliving our youths. It’s the first snowman I’ve ever made.’

The hotel barmaid and married mother-of-two said: ‘There was so much snow, that’s all just from our back garden. Down south we never had snow like this, but moving up north I’ve seen more snow in three years than I’ve ever seen. 

‘It’s the most snow they’ve ever seen. My son didn’t come back in until 6pm, he was just playing with the snow all day. It was just a good laugh. We used a tape measure and he’s about 10 feet tall. It’s the tallest snowman I’ve ever seen it.’  

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