December 17, 2010
The return of the Big Freeze threatens to leave homes without heating, households without Christmas presents and prevent relatives from uniting with their families over the festive period.
Overnight snow has left motorists facing ''possibly the worst driving conditions imaginable'', according to the AA, and has closed airports and some rail routes.
With shoppers struggling to get into town, many have bought presents on the internet only to find a backlog in deliveries means they will not arrive in time.
In addition, the cold snap, which is expected to extend beyond Christmas, has pushed up the cost of heating oil dramatically and even led the Government to consider its rationing.
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