UK

Motorists stranded by snowfall in Yorkshire

  • 27 December 2014
  • From the section UK
Media captionStranded coach passenger Chloe McIntosh: "Residents opened up the local church and the priest gave us lots of teas, lots of mince pies"

Dozens of coach passengers and drivers were stranded overnight in Yorkshire after snowfall swept parts of the UK.

A group of coach passengers spent the night in a Sheffield church, and the AA said "lots" of cars had been abandoned in the city.

Northern Ireland, Wales, central and northern England and southern Scotland all experienced rain, sleet and snow in the early hours of Saturday.

Fierce winds affected London and the south east.

The Met Office issued a number of yellow warnings for snow, ice and wind for regions across the UK.

Forecasters say the "worst of the snow" has now passed but it will remain cold throughout the day and freezing temperatures will return to snow-affected areas on Saturday evening.

In other developments:

  • Liverpool Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport have reopened after closing on Friday evening
  • Some passengers faced delays at Manchester Airport after flights were diverted there from Liverpool and Leeds
  • Police warned of hazardous conditions on the roads, especially in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Chloe McIntosh was one of 20-30 passengers who tried to catch a 14:15 GMT National Express coach from Sheffield to London on Friday.

She said the coach did not arrive to collect the passengers, but a replacement picked them up and set off at about 18:45.

But she said this got stuck in the snow on a steep hill before getting out of Sheffield.

"Some people from the houses nearby have come and offered us tea," she said..

"Then they opened up the church."

Image caption Coach passengers were forced to sleep on chairs or on the floor at a nearby church

The passengers took shelter at Our Lady of Beauchief & St Thomas of Canterbury Church before eventually boarding another coach at 06:30 GMT.

Miss McIntosh told the BBC: "National Express unfortunately did nothing for us - they went missing between 12 and 4am."

National Express said it was arranging "alternative travel" for its customers, adding: "We apologise to the passengers whose journeys have been so severely disrupted."

How to drive in snow and ice

Image caption The AA tweeted a picture of gridlock in Sheffield
  • Balance your speed - too fast and you risk losing control, but if you go too slow you risk losing momentum
  • Start gently in second gear, avoiding high revs. Stay in a higher gear for better control.
  • Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble.
  • Increase the distance at which you follow other vehicles.
  • Plan your journey around busier roads, which are more likely to have been gritted.
  • On a downhill slope, get your speed low before you start the descent, and do not let it build up.
  • In falling snow, use dipped headlights or foglights but switch off if conditions improve.

Read more about how to prepare your car and get readers' tips on driving in freezing weather.

Dr Stan Fowler told the BBC he was one of a "handful" of drivers who had spent the night in their cars at Woodhall Services on the M1.

"I arrived here at 20:30 and have bedded down for the night after parts of the car park became impassable," he said.

"The staff have been excellent and have brought duvets from the nearby hotel and although it wasn't how I would have chosen to spend Boxing Day night, it really hasn't been too bad at all."

A crashed lorry blocked all southbound lanes of the M1 south of Barnsley earlier, and there are still delays on the motorway on the stretch between Sheffield and Barnsley.

Image caption The M1 southbound was blocked earlier by a crashed lorry

Motorist Rob Simpson said some roads in Yorkshire were "almost undriveable".

"I was on the M1 near Rotherham in South Yorkshire and it's taken me about two hours to get home to Leeds," he said.

"The journey normally takes about 40 minutes."

Image caption People in Rotherham have been helping drivers stuck on snowy roads

BBC Weather forecaster Laura Gilchrist said the "worst of the snow" had now passed, but there could be some wintry showers and icy conditions on Saturday.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings - meaning "be aware" - for snow and ice for much of Scotland.

There is also an ice warning for Northern Ireland and parts of England and Wales, and a warning of high winds for the far south-east of England.

Image caption Flights were briefly diverted from Liverpool Airport to Manchester
Image caption There was snow at West Brom's game with Man City
Image caption It was time for snowballs in Gateacre, Liverpool

Issuing a cold weather alert for parts of England, the Met Office said there was a 90% chance that severe weather between 15:00 GMT on Friday and 12:00 GMT on Wednesday could "increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services".

The amber - level three - alert is one below a national emergency and indicates social and healthcare services should target "high-risk" groups, such as the very young or old, or those with chronic diseases.

Public Health England also urged people to look out for vulnerable friends and family and neighbours during the cold snap.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites