UK snow and ice continue to disrupt travel
- 12 March 2013
- From the section UK
Snow, ice and freezing winds have caused travel disruption across parts of the UK, with more expected.
The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" ice warnings covering Wales and most of England and Scotland.
An amber "be prepared" snow warning for the south-east corner of England suggests up to 10cm (4in) of snow could accumulate by Tuesday morning.
Hundreds of motorists are stuck on roads in Sussex, particularly the M23 and A23 near Handcross, West Sussex.
Insp James Biggs, of Sussex Police's road policing unit, said officers were trying to help gritters reach affected areas and urged drivers to allow them through congestion.
"Many drivers have been rescued but I know many more have endured long hours stuck in their vehicles," Insp Biggs said.
In a message to motorists, he said: "Please bear with us; we are working to full capacity, along with our partners in the Highways Agency to help you.
"If you are in trouble from a health perspective, or you have very young children with you, then please call 999. Stay in your car and keep warm by running the engine as much as you can."
Elsewhere in West Sussex, the A27 is closed at Worthing and the A29 at Bury Hill; in East Sussex, the A259 is shut at Eastbourne while the A21, A22, A26 and A27 are passable but very slow.
Meanwhile, Dover Coastguard has carried out a helicopter rescue of a man injured aboard a tanker off the Kent coast amid three-metre waves and gale-force winds. The man, who had suffered a shoulder injury, was flown to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.
In other developments:
- Transport Scotland said a full fleet of 130 gritters would be out on the roads on Monday night in response to the wintry weather
- In Wales, motorists had to put up with snow and strong winds and one lane of the Severn Bridge was closed
- On the rail network, cold conditions caused signalling problems and there were delays in a number of areas. On the Isle of Wight, the cold weather meant no rail services were operating between Shanklin and Ryde St Johns
- Guernsey and Jersey airports shut their runways due to the snowy conditions. Snow storms on Jersey damaged power lines and left about 200 homes without power, and Jersey Electricity said the conditions were the worst it had experienced since the Great Storm of 1987.
- Condor Ferries services between Poole and Guernsey were cancelled by the freezing weather, and TransEuropa Ferries and Stena Line crossings were running reduced services
- Bookmakers slashed the odds for a white Easter as forecasters predicted more snow showers throughout the week
- Snow and surface water from heavy rain caused difficult driving conditions in Norfolk
- A number of schools across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were closed owing to snow
The Environment Agency has one flood warning and 29 flood alerts in place in England and Wales.
BBC weather forecaster Steve Cleaton said the snow showers that had affected central and northern areas of the UK during Monday would tend to ease off overnight into Tuesday, although some of the higher areas of northern England may well still see a covering of snow.
Many areas of the UK will also see icy patches forming on roads, making driving conditions difficult.
South-east England is also likely to see around 2cm to 5cm of snowfall overnight, with Kent and Sussex the most affected counties.
Temperatures, which have remained close to freezing throughout the day, will plummet to around -2C to -5C in towns and cities and -4C to -6C in rural areas overnight, our forecaster said.
Temperatures of -10C could be seen in Scotland.
The bitterly cold, north-easterly wind will persist across most of England and Wales into Tuesday, he added, but it will ease across Scotland and Northern Ireland.
According to BBC forecasters, the blizzard is expected to continue across the Channel Islands into Tuesday morning.
It is likely to result in a new March snowfall record for Jersey, which saw 9cm of snow recorded in March 1962.
The RAC said it was expecting call-outs to increase by a fifth over the next few days, with RAC spokesman Pete Williams warning motorists they should "proceed with caution".
He encouraged drivers to leave time to prepare cars by heating them up, clearing windscreens and making sure lights were working.
"Leave plenty of room between yourself and the car in front and beware there may well be occasional stretches of black ice which could well cause you to skid," he added.
The Highways Agency, which maintains motorways and major roads in England, said it had "over 500 winter vehicles - salt spreaders, ploughs and snow blowers - on standby at over 100 depots to help keep traffic moving".