Snow and ice disrupts travel across UK as hundreds of schools close – live

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Snow and ice disrupts travel across UK as hundreds of schools close – live” was written by Matthew Weaver (now) and Bonnie Malkin (earlier), for theguardian.com on Monday 11th December 2017 17.26 Asia/Kolkata

Here’s a map showing the latest Met Office warnings for snow and ice.

Snow and ice warnings
Snow and ice warnings

Dozens of rail services in England have been hit by snow, ice and a landslip. The latest problems include:

  • No trains between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town
  • No trains between Great Malvern and Hereford/
  • A reduced service will run between Birmingham New Street and Redditch with delays of up to 20 minutes.
  • Gatwick Express services between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport have been temporarily suspended
  • A landslip means services between Preston and Ormskirk are currently unable to run.

More than 500 schools have been forced to close in the east of England region, writes Will Tilbrook.

Farage the emu caught in the snow

A pet emu called Farage has been recaptured in Tollesbury, near Maldon, after running loose in the snow.

The East Anglian Daily Times has more on the best snow story of the day so far.

Jasmine Emson and Harriet Balcombe managed to take photographs capturing the drama as it unfolded.

“It was just madness,” said Miss Emson.

“The emu is well known in Tollesbury, it’s called Farage and lives next to the church.

“We were all preparing to go out in the snow and suddenly I saw it run past me, we were all a bit shocked it had got out.

“Everyone knows the emu but it was fine, just running loose.

“I heard that a man managed to track it down in the graveyard and bring it back.”

Ms Balcombe reassured her Twitter followers that Farage was safely herded home.

She tweeted: “Tollesbury’s resident emu (yes, emu) got out this morning and has now been safely herded home.”

Updated

Drone footage over Ipswich from Sky Cam East looks likes a scene from The Snowman.

Updated

Weather warning extended

A Met Office yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice has been extended to much of the east coast of England, as well as Scotland and the south-east, until at least 4pm today. An ice warning for central England and Wales remains in place.

An assessment from the chief forecaster said:

With cold conditions and some snow lying over parts of England, as well as further rain pushing in from the south-east during the second half of the night, icy stretches have formed on untreated surfaces. At the same time some snow will fall over parts of south-east England this morning and early afternoon as well as over parts of East Anglia in the afternoon. However, most accumulations here should be above about 100m. This is only a low impact warning with impacts much less widespread and less significant than across parts of England and Wales on Sunday.

Updated

The coldest temperature recorded in the UK in the last 24 hours was -12.4C in Dalwhinnie in central Scotland.

Chillingham Barns in Northumberland wasn’t far behind at -12.2C.

A number of flights at Heathrow have been cancelled “due to crew and aircraft being out of position following yesterday’s weather”.

Peter Grant, the SNP MP for Glenrothes, criticised British Airways for cancelling flights “because it was cold”.

He points out it wasn’t the only airport to be hit by the weather, but British Airways appears to be reporting the most disruption.

Updated

Worcestershire is one of the areas worst hit, writes Will Tilbrook. There are some 200 schools closed across the county.

Heart of Worcestershire College is also closed.

But the University of Worcester is open.

Powis and Chirk castles in Wales are among a number of National Trust Wales attractions that have been forced to close because of the weather.

Updated

Motorists are being warned of havoc on the roads as snow turns to ice after the weekend’s wintry blast.

Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said the motorists’ service was expecting 11,000 breakdowns on Monday, 20% above the seasonal norm. “I think the big thing is people are not going to leave enough time,” he said. “Journeys will take two to three times longer. It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions.”

But so far fears of a “Black Ice Monday” appear overblown.

There have been some pretty impressive snow sculptures in the last 24 hours.

Please send pictures of your favourite snow sculptures to GuardianWitness.

Updated

Hundreds of schools are closed today. The government has set up a postcode finder to check if your child’s school is among them.

Snow on the coast at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.
Snow on the coast at Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Updated

The snow arrived at a crucial time in the undergraduate interview season at Oxford University, with the city and surrounding region hit hard.

Oxford is advising candidates to contact the relevant colleges if they are having trouble travelling to the city.

Around 200 schools in Oxfordshire have closed today because of snow, and Oxford Brookes University has closed its campus.

Updated

How is the snow and ice affecting you this morning? We want to hear about the impact on the roads and transport system, as well as children who are unable to go into school. Share your stories, views, and photos with us. Please think about your safety and security first when recording and sharing your content.

Updated

Almost 3,000 customers of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks spent a night without electricity, but the company has restored power to 48,000 households. It said the worst-hit areas were Oxfordshire, where 800 homes are without power, Wiltshire and parts of Berkshire.

It said heavy snow and winds of up to 70mph caused damage to the network’s overhead power lines.

Craig Gilroy, director of customer operations for SSEN, said: “With the worst of the weather now behind us, our engineers have made good progress restoring power to homes affected by today’s weather event. Unfortunately, with heavy snow and travel issues still restricting access to fault locations, we expect around 800 customers in Oxfordshire to remain without power overnight.

“We have now contacted each of these customers to provide an update and offer welfare facilities. I’d like to thank customers for their patience and assure them we will be working hard from first light to get access to faults and carry out the final repairs.

Updated

Yellow warning for ice
Yellow warning for ice
Photograph: Met Office

A Met Office yellow severe weather warning for ice will remain in place for large parts of the UK until around 11am.

A yellow warning means that you should “plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day to day activities”.

The forecast is for an icy start with rain in the south-east. Most of the rest of the UK will be cold but sunny.

There are currently 20 rail services cancelled in Scotland, according to ScotRail’s journey checker. The latest problems include a points failure at Newton, which will hit services until at least 8.30am, and a broken-down train in Glasgow which is blocking the route to Paisley.

Updated

Motorway network clear

Highways England has declared the main road and motorway network clear.

Frank Bird, an emergency planning officer, said: “For our network there aren’t any problems. All of our motorways are back to tarmac. Some of the three lane motorways are still only two lanes, but we are working to try and clear that throughout the day. For the large part we would say once you can get to the motorways it’s safe motoring.”

He told BBC Breakfast that staff were working 14-hour shifts over the weekend to keep the roads open.

He said: “We’ve had round the clock gritting. We had 56 gritters out on the motorway network in the West Midlands alone. For a short period we borrowed some from the north-west, which is why we’ve managed to keep the motorway network going all through yesterday.”

Bird claimed the worst problem on Sunday was lorries blocking the M40 which led to 55-minute delays.

But he added: “As long as you took it nice and steady people got where they were going to. We’ve not seen snow like this for seven years so it is challenging for all of us.”

Gritters with snow ploughs were out on the A414 road in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Sunday.
Gritters with snow ploughs were out on the A414 road in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on Sunday.
Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Updated

Meanwhile in America…

The RAC wants motorists to take it slow today.

Pete Williams, the group’s road safety spokesman, has told the Press Association that they are expecting 11,000 breakdowns today, 20% more than the seasonal norm.

“I think the big thing is people are not going to leave enough time,” he said. “Journeys will take two to three times longer. It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions.”

He said low overnight temperatures could cause black ice and he urged people to drive slowly, leaving plenty of space between them and the vehicle in front.

Updated

It seems even famous footballers aren’t immune to the effects of snow.

More than 50 schools across Oxfordshire have announced that they are closed today because of snow, including the major state secondaries Cherwell, Matthew Arnold and Cheney schools in Oxford city.

Updated

Looks like Birmingham got another rather heavy dusting last night …

There are train problems and warnings for cyclists in the West Midlands.

After hours of snow, Leominster was covered under a thick blanket of white.
After hours of snow, Leominster in Herefordshire was covered under a thick blanket of white.
Photograph: Jim Wood / Barcroft Images
More winter magic in Leominster.
More winter magic in Leominster.
Photograph: Jim Wood / Barcroft Images

More detail on school closures across the country:

More than 100 schools are closed in Shropshire. In Wales, 71 schools are closed in Flintshire, 11 in Wrexham and 49 in Denbighshire.

On the roads, lane three on the M42 in the West Midlands, between junctions 1 and 3, and lane three on the M5 between junction 4a and junction 3, are impassable, with only lanes one and two running on both motorways.

The slip road to Stansted airport on the M11 eastbound was closed overnight for carriageway treatment due to freezing temperatures, according to Highways England.

More flight cancellations

The Press Association is reporting that seven flights have been cancelled at Edinburgh airport, while Manchester airport has 13 departures listed as cancelled.

Still looking pretty white in North London.

You knew it was cold yesterday – but how cold?

Fittingly, one of the coldest places in the country was Chillingham Barnes in Northumberland.

A reminder that all schools in Birmingham are closed, and 200 are shut in Gloucestershire.

In the capital there is good news and bad news:

The latest travel updates from National Rail:

Passengers with tickets for Sunday can travel today on Virgin Trains.

Just a reminder of conditions across the country yesterday:

A car crossed the central reservation rather than wait in a traffic queue in Bedfordshire.
A car crossed the central reservation rather than wait in a traffic queue in Bedfordshire.
Photograph: Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Images
The pretty snow-covered countryside in the hills near Longtown, Herefordshire
The pretty snow-covered countryside near Longtown, Herefordshire
Photograph: Chas Breton / Barcroft Images
Passengers had to walk up the steep hill to Luton airport dragging their suitcases due to a lack of transport due to the weather
Passengers had to walk up the steep hill to Luton airport dragging their suitcases due to a lack of transport due to the weather
Photograph: Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Images

Flying from Heathrow today? Read this first:

The latest wrap from the Press Association warns of snow and ice causing treacherous driving conditions at the start of the working week.

Here is a breakdown of what we can expect, after 12 inches of snow fell overnight in some parts of the country and temperatures fell to minus 12C:

  • 10,000 homes are without power in the Midlands, South Wales and South West
  • 800 homes in Oxfordshire without power
  • The RAC expects 11,000 breakdowns on Monday – 20% more than usual
  • Journeys will take two to three times longer than normal
  • Thousands of tonnes of salt have been spread on the M5, M6, M40, M42, M69, and the A5 and A49, with gritting crews also targeting the M1.
  • Hundreds of schools are closed.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said, with snow flurries fading, most places across the country will wake up to a “bright sunny morning” and that it will be “very cold overnight”. With ice expected “quite widely” for many beginning another working week, he said there will be “widespread slippery, icy conditions” with some “tricky conditions” on the roads and pavements.

“Another feature for Monday morning is that there is some rain that is going to come across and clip the south east corner of the UK. There is a separate ice warning out for that because there is a chance that that rain could fall as a little bit of snow over the higher ground.”

Birmingham Children’s Hospital has put a call out for help transporting staff in to work – they need people with 4WD vehicles to volunteer.

British Airways is reducing its flight schedule from Heathrow today.

Customers are advised to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport. You can do that here.

National Rail suggests anyone travelling today checks the journey planner to find out if their route is affected by bad weather.

Heathrow warns of more delays

Airport operators have warned some flights at Heathrow will be disrupted today due to “crew and aircraft being out of position following yesterday’s weather”.

Passengers should check their flight status with their airline, the website warns.

Hello and welcome to our snow/traffic chaos/weather blog, where we will keep an eye on transport and life disruption across the UK – and probably include some nice pictures of the snow.

Millions of Britons will be waking up this morning to more of the white stuff, freezing temperatures and more trouble on the roads. If you don’t need to go anywhere, don’t.

Hundreds of schools are closed and the Met Office is predicting severe frost and biting cold that could cause major travel disruption. For our latest wrap on the extreme winter weather, read on:

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Snow and ice disrupts travel across UK as hundreds of schools close – live - NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).