UK weather: Travel disruption after fresh snow

Gritting lorry in ditch in Suffolk A gritting lorry ended up in a ditch after overnight snow in Suffolk

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Fresh snow across parts of the UK has caused further travel disruption.

Norwich airport is closed and police in Norfolk have reported 63 crashes on the county's roads since midnight.

Yellow warnings advising the public to "be aware" of frozen conditions and hazardous roads in eastern England and south-east Scotland have been issued by the Met Office.

Forecasters said the cold spell would continue until Friday.

It comes after about 3in (8cm) of snow fell in Norfolk and Suffolk on Monday morning, with parts of the East Midlands, south-east England, north-east England, south-west Scotland, Lothian and the Borders and Yorkshire and the Humber also affected.

Temperatures across the UK on Tuesday range between 0C and 4C but forecasters said sleet and snow could result in icy stretches overnight into Wednesday as surfaces froze under them.

In other developments:

  • In Suffolk, police reported more than 30 accidents involving vehicles on roads overnight and a gritting lorry crashed into a ditch during a snow flurry on the B1115 at Little Waldingfield near Sudbury
  • In Norfolk, more than 60 schools closed because of the snow. Six cars were involved in an accident in snowy conditions on the A11 at Larling near Thetford Forest, which resulted in a woman being taken to hospital with head injuries
  • Norwich Airport said it had been closed until further notice, advising people to contact their airline. Elsewhere in the city, two people were hit by a police car during a snowstorm. One suffered a minor knee injury and the other was not hurt
  • Snow between Norwich and Ely caused many Greater Anglia trains to run at a reduced speed for much of Tuesday, causing delays. A handful of services between London, Cambridge and Norwich were cancelled.
  • Police in County Durham have been accused of "sucking the fun" out of the winter weather, after they warned that youngsters could be arrested for throwing snowballs at cars, homes or people who do not want to be involved in games
  • The horse racing schedule has been affected, with Wednesday's meeting at Newcastle and Thursday's meeting at Market Rasen abandoned due to snow
  • Schools closed across Wales, where widespread icy conditions caused delays on roads and the temporary closure of the A4067 between Glais, Swansea, and Junction 45 of the M4
  • Many roads in the north-east of Scotland are described as hazardous, including the A90 north and south of Aberdeen. A car landed on its roof after an accident on the B979 near the Tyrebagger. Aberdeen International Airport has already seen some cancellations and at least 15 schools in the area are closed

BBC forecaster Matt Taylor has warned that temperatures may fall as low as -8C in eastern England and as low as -12C in rural parts of Scotland overnight on Tuesday, which could cause hazardous driving conditions for the morning rush hour on Wednesday.

Motoring organisations have urged drivers to ensure their vehicles were well prepared for the wintry conditions before setting out on their journeys.

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Steve Crosthwaite, of the Highways Agency, said motorists should check the latest travel advice prior to leaving.

He told BBC News: "We are using salt to treat the road network and have ploughs and snow blowers on standby if necessary. Our traffic officers are working around the clock to monitor our road network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving."

The RAC said it was expecting about 1,500 more breakdowns than the 7,500 it would usually expect on a wintry Tuesday in winter - with the busiest area expected to be East Anglia.

The AA said it was responding to about 1,000 breakdowns an hour, with nearly 8,000 reported before lunchtime on Monday.

Tasmin Jeff-Johnson, from the RAC, urged motorists to take sensible shoes and a warm coat on any snow-affected journey. She also advised drivers to take a shovel and pieces of old carpet to provide traction in case of breakdown.

Six Met Office yellow warnings - advising people to "be aware" of severe weather - were put in place for much of the eastern side of the UK on Monday and remain in force until 23:55 GMT on Tuesday.

The BBC's Jenny Hill in west Yorkshire: "The gritting lorries have been out across the country"

Eddy Carroll, chief forecaster for the Met Office, said: "With some very low temperatures over the next few nights we also expect ice in many places and people should be prepared for travel problems."

BBC forecasters predict snow showers could return to eastern coastal areas on Thursday, ahead of what could be another band of significant snow, which could hit south-west England and parts of Wales on Friday.

The Met Office has issued a cold weather alert, warning of a 90% probability of severe cold weather or icy conditions until Friday in parts of England.

The level three alert - one below a national emergency - warns the weather could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt services, and notifies the authorities to take action.

The cold spell is being caused by an abrupt jump in temperatures high in the stratosphere, which can bring snow, forecasters explained.

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UK forecast for 20/04/2014

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