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Heavy Snow Brings London to a Stop

Nearly a foot of snow covered London in what meteorologists called the heaviest snowfall in nearly two decades. The winter weather caused transportation disruptions across England and Western Europe for a second day.

But for many people, Monday was a rare chance to play in a country where deep snows are rare, and often disappear as fast as an ice cube on a kitchen counter.

In Green Park, a tree-lined expanse alongside Buckingham Palace, people made a small army of snowmen, and others rushed up to have their photos taken next to such a rare sight in London.

"I love it! This is my first time!" said Louisa Burlamaqui, 25, a Brazilian tourist sipping coffee in a Starbucks next to the park.

An American man in shorts, T-shirt and a woolen cap tossed a Frisbee as the heavy snow fell. Asked whether he was from the United States, he responded with a big laugh, "Who else would be doing this?"

At Buckingham Palace, the changing of the guard proceeded as scheduled at 11:30 a.m. But the soldiers in their gray flannel coats were reduced to clomping and trudging in the deep snow, instead of their normal crisp marching steps.

Across from the palace gates, Becky Mayes, 29, said her normal one-hour commute into the city turned into a three-hour ordeal. And it was only when she arrived that she realized her workplace was shut for the day.

But Mayes, who built a small snowman in the park with her boyfriend, Alastair Henderson, 28, said the snow seemed to be bringing out the best in people. She said total strangers were talking and laughing with one another.

"There's a different vibe out here today," she said.

In Hampstead in north London, Josephine Rabinowitz, 16, and her friend Mark Mindel, 16, had the day off from school and were strolling along a busy shopping street when two young men pelted them with snowballs from across the street.

"That normally doesn't happen around here," Rabinowitz said. "Adults and teens are becoming kids again."

Special correspondent Karla Adam contributed to this report.

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