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article imageColder-than-normal winter has Brits looking for online love

By Stephanie Dearing     Jan 7, 2010 in World
The United Kingdom, along with many other European countries, is being hit with the one of the coldest winter in years. Online dating sites have reported a surge in membership that correlates to the weather.
United Kingdom - With the night temperatures dropping drastically to a frosty -18 degrees Celsius in some spots of the country, the United Kingdom is experiencing weather more normally found in places like Canada. While the night-time temperatures have not broken records (yet), the temperatures are much colder than what has been considered normal. The winter weather that has wrapped its cold icy grip around parts of the U.K. is severe, and has resulted in energy-rationing and disruptions to travel arrangements, as well as chaos on the highways and the closures of schools and businesses.
As the snow continues to blanket the roads and ground, municipalities are running out of salt and sand supplies. The weather has also been creating chaos for travellers, with a second train having broken down in the Channel Tunnel Thursday. Air traffic is slowly getting back to normal after a recent snow event affecting the south of the U.K.
It's been weather that is expected in many other countries around the world -- but not normal weather for the United Kingdom. So it is no small wonder that house-bound Brits have been turning to the internet for amusement during their long hours cooped up inside. But the big news? It's not just that Brits are looking for amusement -- they're looking for love, and they are signing up to online partnering sites in droves. Illicit Encounters reported it had nearly 3,000 people have joined Illicit Encounters in the past week is big. Illicit Encounters told British press that most of its new members had come from areas of the U.K. hardest hit by the severe weather. Illicit Encounters is a dating site for married people. A testimonial posted by Member 952 states "I'm probably like most men, they have a great wife who's become their very best friend, and those lustful, crazy moments are a thing of the past. There's no way I would ever want to leave her, or visa versa, but if I can have a few lustful liaisons, i'm sure it can only enhance our marriage going forward."
Illicit Encounters isn't the only site reporting thousands of new members. Mysinglefriend.com told the BBC its membership grew 55% on January 5th while other singles sites also reported healthy increases. The online dating sites told the BBC they normally experienced an increase in membership in January, but not the growth they have experienced during this past week.
Parts of Britain are shut down due to the weather, with thousands of schools and businesses closed. Roads in those areas are said to be impassable.
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