UK snow: Further travel disruption
- 18 January 2013
- From the section UK
Heavy snow around the UK has continued to cause travel disruption.
The Highways Agency warned drivers to take extra care, while the RAC said reaching stranded motorists was now a "real challenge".
Rail companies reported many delays and flights at several airports were cancelled as a band of heavy snow affected most of the UK.
Upwards of 3,000 schools were closed in England, Wales and Scotland on Friday, as up to 26cm of snow fell.
In south Wales a rare Met Office red snow warning of severe disruption was in force until 21:00 GMT.
There are amber warnings - which mean the public must be prepared for disruption and only travel if necessary - in place in parts of Scotland, north-east England, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Humber.
There have been widespread school closures in England, with more than 500 in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 300 in Norfolk, 209 in Buckinghamshire, 110 in Northamptonshire, and 300 schools and colleges in Gloucestershire. In Wales, 1,200 schools have been closed and three in Scotland.
Sennybridge, in Powys, saw 26cm of snow during Friday. Elsewhere, there was 16cm in Filton, near Bristol, 12cm in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, and 10cm in Nottingham, the BBC Weather Centre says.
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said there had been some travel disruption caused by the snow, but transport authorities had done well.
In other developments:
- Many major roads have been affected by snow, with hazardous conditions on the M5, and the M48 Severn Bridge closed, the BBC travel centre reports
- Both the M40 in Oxfordshire and M5 in Gloucestershire are partially closed after lorries jack-knifed
- The RAC says it rescued a number of stranded motorists in west Wales and parts of Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and Hampshire. The AA said during Friday it had received calls at a rate of around 900 an hour from stranded drivers in England and Wales
- In County Down, 3,500 households are without power
- A 16-year-old girl has been airlifted to hospital with serious head and back injuries after a snowboarding accident near Wrightington, Lancashire
- 438 flights were cancelled at London's Heathrow Airport, where BA apologised on Friday night to passengers stuck on planes. It is trying to bring in extra crews to help but icy conditions are making this difficult
- Birmingham and Southampton airports were closed for most of the day, and there was also disruption at London City, Jersey, Belfast, Exeter, Leeds/Bradford and Bristol airports
- Some Eurostar services have been cancelled, while other services are delayed due to speed restrictions
- There are extensive delays across the rail network. Operators affected include First Great Western, which is running a reduced service between London Paddington and Cardiff; East Coast, whose trains are delayed up to 30 minutes between Peterborough and Edinburgh; Southeastern trains, which has major disruption on most of its routes; South West Trains, which has a revised timetable; Southern Railways; Greater Anglia and London Midland
- In Shropshire, snow forced the Telford ski centre to close its artificial ski slope
- A number of football matches have been postponed - including Friday night's Conference fixture between Braintree and Grimsby. On Saturday, six matches in League One, five in League Two and one league match in Scotland have already been called off
BBC Weather forecaster Mike Silverstone said the snow was now easing in most places, although Saturday would see light flurries.
There is still some heavy snow to come overnight across parts of north-east England, eastern Scotland and Northern Ireland - where another 5cm to 10cm snow is quite likely - but this will ease through Saturday.
The temperatures will remain cold, meaning that ice will become an issue over the weekend as the snow compacts and refreezes.
"Most places will be around or below freezing, so there will be no or little thaw," he said. "There will be quite a breeze, which means there could be drifting of lying snow in places", Mr Silverstone said.
Into Sunday, and it will be mostly light snow confined to the southern half of the UK: "But we could see something a bit heavier in the south-eastern corner," he added.