Snow hits roads and schools in parts of the UK

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Media captionThe BBC's James Cook describes a snowy scene in Aberdeenshire

Further heavy snow has hit parts of the UK, causing school closures and travel disruption.

Northern Scotland and north-east England had fresh snowfalls, and the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for several parts of the UK.

Icy roads have proved hazardous for drivers and some weekend sporting events have already been cancelled.

It is the earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years and the cold spell is expected to last two weeks.

Long cold spell

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for most regions of Scotland - from Orkney and Shetland down to the southern borders areas - for heavy snow and icy roads on Friday evening through to Saturday.

The snow warning in Wales lasts until 1900 GMT on Friday, and a new warning for south-west England has been issued until 0200 GMT on Saturday.

There is also a warning of widespread icy roads for Northern Ireland on Friday evening into Saturday.

Sub-zero temperatures were recorded across the UK overnight into Friday, far lower than those normally experienced in November.

The coldest recorded temperature was in Carterhouse in the Scottish Borders, at -7.8C. Benson in Oxfordshire recorded -7.6C, Newcastle dropped to -4.3C, while the temperature at Kew Gardens in London sank to -3.8C.

BBC weather forecaster Simon King said snow was still falling on Friday afternoon in the north and east of the UK, with heavy snow in South Wales and Devon.

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UK forecast for 21/03/2019

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Up to 10cm (4in) of snow has been forecast in Wales, with up to 15cm on higher ground. Most other places will see 2-5cm of snow in low-lying areas.

He said drivers should expect difficult conditions for the rush hour in south Wales, and parts of Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

As the snow clears away to the south overnight there will be further snow showers up the eastern side of Britain and temperatures will drop to as low as -6C.

On Saturday more snow is forecast for eastern and northern Scotland and north-east England, and further falls are expected on Sunday with some flurries further south.

The "bitterly cold" temperatures could drop even more on Saturday and Sunday.

The BBC's Danny Savage, in Northumberland, earlier said the snow was knee deep and the travel situation was "very bad".

The severe weather has continued to disrupt schools and travel:

  • The AA had attended nearly 8,000 weather-related breakdowns by midday. Aberdeenshire, the Newcastle area and North Yorkshire saw 70% increases in incidents.
  • In Wales the road conditions near Tregaron, Ceredigion, are said to be treacherous, with some vehicles stuck between Lampeter and Tregaron.
  • There have been problems on the A1 in Northumberland; the north-south route has reopened but there are traffic jams
  • BBC 5 live's travel reporter Nick Duncalf said the situation was improving on main routes but ungritted minor roads would still cause problems
  • Grampian Police said driving conditions were treacherous and many roads were closed, while the Northern Constabulary said all roads in the region were open
  • More than 160 schools were closed or partially closed in north-east Scotland, mostly in Aberdeenshire
  • 24 schools were closed in Northumberland, and two in Tyne and Wear
  • In North Yorkshire, 13 schools were shut, mostly in coastal areas
  • In East Yorkshire, five schools were closed
  • Saturday's horse racing meeting at Newcastle has been cancelled, with Gosforth Park under 18cm of snow. The meeting at Towcester, Northamptonshire, has also been called off, while events at Carlisle and Leicester on Sunday are in doubt
  • The weekend's FA Cup second round matches could also be at risk
  • Rugby Union bosses have vowed that England's match against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday will go ahead
  • A plane with 189 passengers overshot the runway at Newcastle airport in icy conditions on Thursday night; no-one was injured but the airport was closed for a while

Up to 15cm of snow blanketed parts of northern and north-east Scotland, and north-east England, on Thursday.

Forecasters said the cold spell could last a fortnight, with snow reaching England's southern counties next week.

The unusual weather is being caused by high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltics, forcing cold winds from the north-east across Europe.

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