Schools and roads affected by ice as cold week forecast

BBC's Danny Savage on the huge tailback on the northbound A1 near Wetherby

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Britain is set for a cold and dry week after the snow which fell across much of Britain on the weekend.

Part of the A1 northbound in North Yorkshire is closed after an accident, and the Met Office has nine severe warnings in place for ice in parts of Wales and England.

Heathrow cancelled about 40 flights on Monday but says it hopes to resume a normal service.

A small number of schools in several counties have been closed.

Schools in Leicestershire, Kent and Medway, Essex, North Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, Sussex, Humberside and Derbyshire have shut due to the weather.

According to the Met Office, ice is likely to be a hazard on roads and pavements across parts of south-east Wales and much of England, except the South West during the morning rush-hour. The warnings cover the period until midday.

Latest local information from the BBC

Forecasters say there will be dense fog patches for many on Monday, with isolated snow flurries towards the South East. The rest of the week is expected to be cold and dry.

In other travel news:

  • A 25-mile section of the A1 northbound in North Yorkshire was shut on Monday morning following a series of accidents between Allerton Park, near York, and the Catterick area.
  • Tuesday's race meetings at Market Rasen and Sedgefield have been abandoned due to frozen tracks.
  • Saturday and Sunday saw disruption to airports, trains and on motorways after snow had swept across most of Britain on Saturday, bringing up to 16cm (6in) in some areas.
  • Motorists are being warned about black ice.

Analysis

The battle between cold and mild air and whether rain or snow would result was flagged up by BBC Weather and the Met Office early last week.

Initially there was uncertainty about whether the mild air would win and give snow turning to rain, or the cold air would win, resulting in heavy snow.

By Thursday it was becoming increasingly likely that the cold air would win and give a large part of England some heavy snow. Weather warnings were issued and the snow that fell was in line with those warnings.

The Met Office has recently introduced an even finer model of the atmosphere, which can now forecast our weather at spots only 1.5km apart.

This is very important in forecasting the difference between rain and snow or indeed the local intensity of snow, such as we saw this weekend.

Alex Barnett, from the Highways Agency, said it had done everything it could to prevent traffic hold-ups such as the one on Saturday night which saw hundreds of motorists stranded for several hours on the M25.

But he said delays were inevitable if some vehicles could not cope with the conditions as time was needed for the Highways Agency to get there to help them.

He advised motorists heading out on Monday to make sure they know their route and have checked that it is clear and open.

He also said they should make sure they had enough fuel, blankets and warm clothes, and if going on a long journey, that they had food and drink as well as a fully charged mobile phone.

Almost 400 transatlantic passengers were left stranded overnight in Ireland after six London-bound flights were diverted.

Heathrow operator BAA said 753 flights operated out of London Heathrow Airport on Sunday, which was about 58% of the normal 1,300 flights which operate on that day.

It has defended its decision, amid criticism from some affected passengers, to announce that it was cancelling flights on Sunday even before snow had started to fall.

BAA added that it had decided to reduce the flight schedule at Heathrow to "minimise disruption" and said airlines had been able to re-book some passengers as a result.

Simon Calder: "Heathrow is amazingly efficient... but when things go wrong they unravel very quickly"

Richard Scott, from BAA, said because Heathrow operated at capacity, there was no slack in the system to deal with the reduced number of flights that could take off and land in bad weather.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said she supported the "resilience plan" between the airport and air traffic control, while shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said it seemed a sensible precaution.

Ms Greening added: "Actually cancelling flights in advance so passengers don't get to the airport and then find their flight being cancelled was one of the main recommendations of the inquiry that Heathrow held into the debacle last year when we saw huge disruption."

UK weather maps: click on Key and tabs for extra detail

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UK forecast for 18/09/2014

Map Key

  • land colour Land
  • cloud colour Cloud
  • Lakes, Rivers & Sea colour Lakes, Rivers & Sea

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Rain

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Snow

Snow Colour Range
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Temperature (°C)

Temperature range chart

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