England

Heavy snow causes disruption across north of England

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Media captionSnow has brought life to a virtual standstill in some areas

More than 550 schools are closed and several flights have been cancelled in the north of England after more heavy snowfall.

Up to 6in (15cm) of snow fell in the North East, causing Durham Tees Valley Airport and Newcastle Airport to close.

Ice is also causing problems on roads in East and West Yorkshire where conditions are said to be "hazardous".

The Local Government Association said councils had increased salt stockpiles as the Met Office warned of more snow.

Some schools are closed in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, Shropshire, East and North Yorkshire.

Newcastle Airport was closed for a time and three flights were cancelled, while Durham Tees Valley Airport remains shut.

'Unprecedented preparations'

Motorists travelling on the M62 between junction 34 and junction 38 in West Yorkshire have been urged to take care, while one of the main routes into the centre of Sheffield, the Parkway, was said to be "treacherous".

The Lund bypass in East Yorkshire was closed after a car hit a telegraph pole. The B1249 near Driffield was also closed.

Two train services between York and London were cancelled and the Northern Rail service between Whitby and Middlesbrough was also suspended.

In the South West, one lane of the eastbound M4 at the Severn Crossing was closed temporarily after ice started to form on the bridge.

David Sparks, from the Local Government Association, said councils were better prepared to cope with the winter weather.

"Local authorities this year have made unprecedented preparations for the winter.

"We've got well over a third more salt and grit in our stocks than we had last year and over a half of local authorities have invested in new gritting lorries."

Several vehicles abandoned in deep snow on the North York Moors national park at the weekend were attacked by vandals overnight.

Park spokesman Jay Marrison said: "They had every window put through and door panels ripped off. Nothing stolen, just pure mindless vandalism.

"It's just unbelievable that people can do such damage to people who are in a bad state already."

Image caption Newcastle has been badly affected by heavy snow

Meanwhile, more than 500 homes in the Wooler area of Northumberland were left without electricity following a fault in the network believed to be weather-related.

Power was lost shortly before 0900 GMT and is expected to remain off until 1640 GMT.

Thunder storms have also caused power cuts in Cornwall.

The UK has been experiencing the earliest widespread snowfall since 1993.

BBC broadcast meteorologist Philip Avery warned plummeting temperatures overnight on Monday were likely to lead to icy roads in many places, while strengthening winds will make it feel even colder.

Warnings of heavy snow are also in place along the entire east coast of England, as well as in Cornwall, with more snow expected throughout the day and on Tuesday.

The Greater London area and Kent are at risk of snowfall from Tuesday, with the Met Office warning drifting snow could cause disruption to road and rail networks towards the end of the week.

Motoring organisations the AA and the RAC warned commuters to continue to take great care, even on major roads that have been gritted.

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