By Keiran Southern For Mailonline,Dailymail
4 March 2018
UK was buried under an avalanche of snow last week by a storm from Siberia
Wild weather plunged the country into chaos and ground it to a standstill
Restaurants left empty, building work stopped and travel networks gridlocked
Experts have now said the weather may end up costing the country billions
Britain’s big freeze cost the economy at least £1billion a day after bringing the country to a standstill.
The UK was last week devastated by the Beast from the East and Storm Emma which saw motorways gridlocked, diggers idle and restaurants empty as large swathes of the country were buried beneath snow.
Experts fear it could be the most costly weather event since 2010 when freezing temperatures ground the economy to a halt in the week before Christmas.Britain’s big freeze – which saw travel networks brought to a standstill and building work stop – could end up costing the economy billions of pounds
Shops were closed and the streets deserted in Cardiff as the Beast from the East froze the country
The UK was buried in an avalanche of snow. Restaurants and other leisure facilities were left empty as shoppers were warned to stay home to avoid the treacherous conditions
Experts fear it could be the most costly weather event since 2010 when freezing temperatures ground the economy to a halt in the week before Christmas. Pictured: Snow in Somerset
They say the construction industry is likely to be hardest hit and could lose up to £2billion over the most severe three days, according to the Observer.
Also likely to be massively out of pocket are retailers and transport networks.
Restaurants reported a string of cancellations after people were warned to stay home while there were crashes on the roads due to the weather.
GDP growth, the indicator of how much national income has expanded, could fall by 0.2% in the first quarter of the year, economists say.
The growth rate had been expected to be 0.4%.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the forecasting group EY ITEM Club, told the newspaper: ‘It is possible that the severe weather could lead to GDP growth being reduced by 0.1 percentage points in Q1 2018 and possibly 0.2 percentage points if the severe weather persists.’
Mr Archer said the combination of a fall in shoppers and the delays to shipments of raw materials to manufacturing firms would damage supply chains.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Economics and Business Research said general output would fall by 20%.
A snow plough is pictured desperately trying to clear grey sludge from the side of a road in Dublin, Ireland yesterday. The construction industry is expected to be hit hard by the freeze
But energy production – which accounts for around 8-10% of GDP – would be at least 20% higher due to the cold weather.
The UK is now braced for mass flooding as the snow melts.
Yellow weather warnings are in place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, threatening to leave ‘death trap’ patches of ice on roads up and down the country.
Fifteen flood warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency – mainly in the south-west and north-east of England, with a further six in Wales.
It comes after deadly black ice, floods and fog were said to bring fresh chaos to Britain today, adding to the devastating effects of recent extreme weather.
A total of 53 flood alerts have been issued nationwide, with 14 out of 15 located in the south west of England as Devon and Cornwall prepare for excess rain, melting snow and high winds.