The closure of Gatwick Airport has been extended until at least 0600 GMT on Friday, after a further heavy snowfall.Southern trains has suspended its services and Southeastern is running an emergency timetable.Severe snow warnings have been issued for Scotland as well as eastern and southern England. At least 6,500 schools across the UK have been closed.Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said a review of how transport operators had coped with the weather conditions was under way.In England, the Met Office has issued heavy snow warnings for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, East, London and the South East, and the South West.In Scotland the warnings apply to Grampian, Strathclyde, Central, Tayside and Fife, and South West, Lothian and Borders.Snow has been particularly heavy around Gatwick, with some 25cm recorded in some places – 15cm of this falling overnight.
A Gatwick spokesman said: “We are doing everything we can to resume operations. However, conditions have deteriorated considerably. Our teams are working around the clock to make the runway safe for aircraft to use and get our airlines and passengers flying again.”Edinburgh airport will not reopen until at least 1600 GMT, and Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster will not be open until midday at the earliest.
In other developments:
* There will be no Southern services running south of East Croydon until further notice, while a limited service will begin in the “London Metro” area at 1000 GMT.
* Southern provides services in South London and between central London and the South Coast, through East and West Sussex and Surrey, and parts of Kent. Southeastern Trains, which runs out of London Victoria and Charing Cross, is operating an emergency timetable.
* National Rail Enquiries has set up a hotline for information about snow-related disruption on 08453 017 641, and also has updates at @nationalrailenq on Twitter.
* Half of Eurostar’s services between London and Brussels on Thursday have been cancelled, as have seven out of 17 services each way between London and Paris.
* In London, the Tube network is running but there are severe delays on the Circle, District, Hammersmith and City and Jubilee lines, with severe delays also reported on
* Police were advising people not to travel unless absolutely necessary – especially in the worst-hit areas of Scotland, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and south-east England
* Police in Kent advised freight traffic not to enter the county unless absolutely necessary as gale force winds are forecast. Some roads in the west and north of the county were impassable due to snow and ice
* In Wales, the Royal Mail says snow and ice could hit mail deliveries and collections in parts of four postcode areas – LL, LD, SY and SA. The postcodes cover north Wales from Anglesey to Wrexham, parts of Powys and Ceredigion and south-west Wales including Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
* The AA said that it had received 3,900 calls by 1000 GMT on Thursday, at a rate of 1,300 an hour. A spokesman said this was fewer than Wednesday’s rate of 2,000 an hour, but this drop was probably because more drivers had decided to stay at home. The worst areas for breakdowns were along the south coast, north-east England and East Midlands.
* Jersey airport runway is to remain shut during Thursday
Meanwhile, about 100 drivers spent the night at South Anston Methodist chapel near Sheffield, after being stranded on the A57 since Tuesday evening.On the trains, passengers on one early evening service to Brighton had to sleep in carriages overnight. Police say they are increasingly concerned about fell walker Gwenda Merriot, 60, from Wiltshire, who was last seen in Ambleside in the Lake District on Wednesday morning. Heavy snowfall was forecast for the area overnight.More than a thousand schools are closed in Scotland again, with some children in the north-east missing out on lessons for a sixth day. About 250,000 Scottish pupils are having the day off.More than 4,000 schools were closed in England on Thursday.One of the worst-affected areas of England is South Yorkshire, where snowfall of up to 30cm (12in) brought parts of the county to a standstill.Overnight, temperatures hit lows of -11 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and -14 in the north-western Highlands – Bbc