London Mayor Boris Johnson conceded that the city was ill-prepared for a winter storm of this magnitude.
“This is the kind of snow we haven’t seen in decades,” he said. “We don’t have the snowplows that we would otherwise need to be sure of getting the roads free.
“The difficulty really has been that the volume of snow has been so huge that you can put down grit, put down the salt, but then it simply snows over it again,” Mr. Johnson said.
David Brown of Transport for London, which runs the rail and bus systems, insisted that his department was, in fact, “prepared in the sense that our cold-weather plans … were put into place.”
What went askew, he conceded, was that “the volume of snow falling during the middle of the night was very difficult for us.”
Outside Banjo’s Sandwich Shop in London’s business district, a sign read: “Free snow with all purchases.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, already under siege over the economic crisis, was in no mood for frivolity.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure services, road, rail and airports are open as quickly as possible,” he said.