Large parts of the UK are set for a final blast of heavy snow today with Britain’s big freeze likely to last for at least four more days.
After a weekend of blizzards for many, up to 20cm of snow will fall in the next 24 hours as it spreads northwards from south-east England this morning, with the north-east suffering most.The freezing conditions mean that Britain’s transport network is creaking again with roads closed after crashes or impassable because of ice. Many trains are being cancelled and airports are warning of severe disruption all day.
Heathrow says at least 10 per cent of its flights, around 155, will be axed as they struggle to cope with more snow and poor visibility. Norwich, East Midlands and Robin Hood Doncaster airports are currently closed.And motorists attempting to use Britain’s major roads are also struggling this morning, with the M40 closed in Warwickshire close to its junction with the M42, while there are severe delays on the M1 through South Yorkshire.Two major roads across the Pennines, the A628 Woodhead Pass and the A66 between Brough and Bowes are shut, while the A1 at Scotch Corner is also closed.
Hundreds of schools across the length and breadth of the UK have been forcedshut today with children able to enjoy another day of fun in the snow.To make matters worse the Met Office has warned of severe cold weather, including seb-zero temperatures until Thursday for much of the country, which they say will make conditions ‘treacherous’.A woman, believed to be in her twenties, has died after being found in the snow. She was discovered by a man walking his dog in Church Meadow, Deal, Kent, at 7.30am yesterday morning, police said and pronounced dead at the scene.It is understood she was walking home from a night out in the town centre when she collapsed.
‘The woman’s death is not being treated as suspicious but it is unexplained. A post-mortem examination will be held later this week.’ Kent Police said.Two others have died in car crashes, one in Kelvedon in Essex yesterday and another in Oxford on Saturday.An amber ‘severe weather’ warning was issued by the Met Office last night for areas such as the Pennines which will be worst affected by snow. Heavy snow will continue to hit the eastern coast of England today before spreading to the north of the country, leaving up to 2ins (5cm) of fresh snowfall on frozen ground. Some areas of high ground could see almost 8ins (20cm) of fresh snowfall today.
Freezing temperatures – as low as -13C (9F) in some areas – are expected to keep snow and ice on the ground well into next week. And it means parts of Britain could be colder than Vladivostock, Siberia, which is experiencing temperatures of -9C (16F).At Heathrow Airport planes are due to be grounded for a fourth day and passengers are advised to check the status of their flights before travelling to the airport.Yesterday passengers were left fuming after 260 flights were cancelled – 20 per cent of the airport’s usual business – and today 10 per cent are due to be cancelled because of expected low visibility.The rail network is also braced for another day of snow and ice-related delays and cancellations.
East Coast, Eurostar, First Capital Connect, London Overground, Southeastern, Southern, South West Trains and Virgin trains are all disrupted.Heavy falls in the North East made for a tricky morning commute for many today. Northumbria Police said the A68 in Northumberland was not passable, with problems at its junction with the A69.Drivers were advised to avoid the B6341 at Rothbury and reported a four-vehicle collision on the Spine Road at Cramlington, next to the 3 Horse Shoes roundabout.Officers also said the A1 in the Newcastle area suffered traffic congestion.
A spokesman said: ‘There are difficult driving conditions across the force at the current time and motorists are advised to take their time on the roads.’Snowfall is expected throughout the rest of the day and we will continue to have officers out in the community. Gritters have been out throughout the night and will continue throughout today.’The snow was even too bad for a Siberian husky racing event, which had to be cancelled over the weekend – because of the wintry conditions.
The dogs might be able to cope with temperatures as low as -50C, but it was the ice that meant the British Siberian Husky Racing event at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Notts, was called off.Organiser Sharon Sargent said: ‘It wasn’t an easy decision to make but when we checked the course on Friday there was a lot of ice and given the speeds the racers go at we decided it was too dangerous for the meet to go ahead.’If it was just snow on the ground then we would have been fine, but it was just compacted ice.
‘The safety and welfare of the riders has to come first – they travel at up to 25mph and it just wasn’t safe when we inspected the course.’It is a real shame, for both us as organisers who have spent a long time setting the event up and the competitors who were looking forward to the weekend.’Snowfall will continue to push north through northern England and Scotland today, dumping up to 7cm in many areas and up to 15cm on higher ground.Sally Webb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association’s weather division, said there will be less snow in the south.
‘The rest of the week will stay cold, and the snow system will continue to push north through tomorrow morning before gradually clearing,’ she said.’For most of the week it will be drier with some sunny spells, with a few wintry showers about, especially on the North Sea coasts.’It will be cold until the weekend, and then a little milder, and the risk of snow will decrease’.Dave Britton, of the Met Office, said: ‘It is going to be a very, very cold week. In the places where it’s not snowing it is going to be very icy.‘Some of this ice and snow might melt during the day but it will rapidly freeze again overnight so the weather will be quite treacherous everywhere. The snow and ice on the ground will not be going anywhere fast.’
Many roads were described as ‘skating rinks’ yesterday and were expected to get worse as snow continued to fall.A man died and another person was injured in a road crash in snowy conditions on the A12 near Kelvedon in Essex. The crash happened shortly after 7pm.On Saturday, a 26-year-old woman was killed after her car skidded off the A40 North Way in Headington, Oxford.Motorists were advised to leave extra time for journeys and travel with a weather emergency kit including warm clothes, food, water, a torch and a spade.They were also warned to defrost their cars properly and not travel like ‘tank commander’ drivers with just a tiny hole scraped in their windscreen.
Motorists in eastern Scotland were urged to be extra cautious with heavy snowfall predicted overnight.The Met Office put amber warnings in place in the Borders, north-east Fife, Perth & Kinross, Angus, Aberdeenshire and Moray.Transport Minister Keith Brown said: ‘As the wintry weather continues, Transport Scotland stands ready to respond swiftly and appropriately. Our Multi Agency Response Team (MART) will monitor the difficult conditions and the Scottish Government’s resilience team is also closely monitoring the situation to help deliver a co-ordinated response.
‘While we have implemented a raft of improvements ranging from higher than ever salt stocks to a strengthened fleet of gritters, the public must play their part by making full used of the vast sources of communications available. Drivers should take the road conditions into consideration, leaving extra time for journeys if necessary.’Part of the A628 between Hollingworth and Flouch in South Yorkshire was closed in both directions overnight because the snow had made driving conditions impossible.Heavy snow fall has closed two major roads across the Pennines and the A66 between Brough and Bowes have also been closed today.
One Audi driver sparked outrage yesterday after he was pictured on the M4 in a snow-laden car – with just a six-inch gap to see through. Jonathan Ellis, wrote on Twitter: ‘Some people should not be allowed cars. Spotted on the M4 today. I mean, seriously?!’Britain is braced for more travel mayhem this week as forecasters warned the freezing weather will stay for at least another four days.Large parts of the country are covered in a blanket of snow and ice meaning conditions are already potentially lethal on roads and motorways.Now the Met Office has warned of severe cold weather, ice and heavy snow until Thursday for much of the country, which will make conditions ‘treacherous’.
Many train operators ran reduced services yesterday which are due to continue today. And stranded air passengers were forced to sleep on terminal floors as flights were cancelled, including 125 – one in ten – at Heathrow today.Northamptonshire Police also put the picture on their Twitter page, along with the caption: ‘A good reminder to clear your car of snow!’ AA president Edmund King said: ‘The hidden danger is the sheet ice below the inch or two of fresh snow on ungritted local roads. Many of these residential roads are like ice rinks.’
Thousands of passengers were forced to sleep at Heathrow airport over the weekend after hundreds of flights were cancelled, including 260 yesterday.Michael Guy, 24, from Limavady, in Northern Ireland, was due to fly to Melbourne on Saturday, but missed his connection after his flight from Belfast was cancelled. He had to sleep on the floor on Terminal 4 on Saturday night after arriving at 9pm and was not expected to get another flight out until late last night.
Mr Guy said: ‘It’s not been particularly comfortable sleeping on the floor but I suppose it’s one of those things.’Airport hotels had hiked up their prices yesterday to take advantage of those stuck because of the bad weather. Passengers said some hotel rooms were being offered for £600. Last night the Sofitel at Terminal 5 was offering rooms at £288, even for those who just wanted somewhere to rest for a couple of hours. Hotel workers said room rates had been put up by about £50 because of the weather.
The Met Office’s amber warning triggers action by social and healthcare services to look at high-risk and vulnerable groups including the very young, very old and those with chronic diseases.A spokeswoman for the Met Office said the cold snap was set to continue while Atlantic fronts attempt to see off freezing air coming in from northern Europe. She added: ‘This is the most widespread snow fall across the country since 2010.’
The rail network is also braced for another day of snow and ice-related delays and cancellations.East Coast, Eurostar, First Capital Connect, London Overground, Southeastern, Southern, South West Trains and Virgin trains are all facing disruption.A 16-year-old boy was in hospital with ‘life-threatening’ head injuries last night after falling off a toboggan while sledging in Middlesbrough. – DailyMail