England snow: Icy conditions cause disruption

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Media captionAndy Yeomans from the RAC gives some tips on how to drive in the snow

Flights and trains have been cancelled and schools remain closed as snow and ice causes disruption across England.

Several airports suspended flights to allow snow to be cleared from runways, while others reported cancellations and delays.

Thousands of schools also remain closed, including more than 600 in West Yorkshire and 500 in the West Midlands.

A 16-year-old boy is critically ill in hospital after hitting a tree while sledging on Teesside.

The teenager was injured on land off Flatts Lane, in Normanby, shortly before 13:00 GMT on Sunday.

Kent Police said the body of a woman in her 20s was found in the snow at Church Meadow, Deal, Kent, on Sunday morning.

Further snowfall is predicted in the north east of England and eastern Scotland later.

'Significant and disruptive'

BBC weather reporter Susan Powell said: "Even where the conditions become comparatively quieter, do bear in mind that, thanks to the cold, there is a risk of icy stretches just about anywhere.

Image caption Heathrow Airport said low visibility forced some flights to be cancelled

"The wind is playing a big part in making the situation worse - there is drifting snow across the north east of England.

"By the end of the night we have to switch our focus south-westwards because it looks like we could see a weather feature... that could bring some significant and disruptive snow."

The YMCA in Worcester called on councils to do more to protect homeless people during the cold weather. Temperatures there are expected to drop to -4C overnight.

Manager Angie Rich said the centre was full and staff were desperately trying to help rough sleepers.

Drivers are being warned of hazardous conditions in East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire after up to 5cm (2in) of snow fell overnight.

Snow also forced the closure of the A66 in Durham and Cumbria. The A628 in South Yorkshire was also closed for several hours while Highways Agency contractors cleared the drifting snow.

Toppled lorry

Many other roads were also affected - the A34, A40 and the Oxford ring road had to close following a series of accidents on Sunday night.

A lorry toppled over on the M40 early on Monday leading to the closure of the southbound carriageway between the M42 junction and junction 15 at Warwick.

The Highways Agency advised drivers to plan their journeys or consider delaying their plans if the weather becomes severe.

A spokesman said: "Our roads will be treated whenever there is a risk of ice or snow, and our winter fleet works around the clock, but we need road users to give them the space they need to do their job.

"We advise drivers to pay particular care at locations where local conditions such as road gradients, bends or overhanging trees mean that there may be an increased risk of ice. There is still a need to drive with care, even after road surfaces have been treated."

Meanwhile, Thames Valley Police officers who work outside for long periods have been given permission to wear woolly hats issued by the force.

Virgin Trains, Gatwick Express and Eurostar are all running a revised service.

Eurostar cancelled several early morning trains to Paris and Brussels and some afternoon arrivals.

London's Heathrow Airport said it was reducing capacity by 10% on Monday and about 175 flights had been cancelled by 12:00 GMT.

Image caption The BBC Weather Centre said more snow was expected in the south-west on Tuesday

Birmingham Airport was also affected, with some departures and nine arrivals cancelled and delays reported.

Flights at Leeds Bradford, East Midlands Airport and Robin Hood Airport were suspended during the morning after poor conditions closed the runways. Flights were also suspended at Manchester Airport for a time to allow snow to be cleared.

'Low visibility'

London City Airport re-opened at 07:30 GMT after ice was removed from the runway.

Gatwick Airport said it would operate as normal, although it warned passengers of some delays to flights.

Heathrow Airport said disruption was being caused by low visibility. A spokesman said: "When there is low visibility, more space has to be left between aircraft.

"Many airports have plenty of spare runway capacity so aircraft can be spaced out more during low visibility without causing delays and cancellations. Because Heathrow operates at almost full capacity, there is simply no room to reschedule the delayed flights."

Catterick Racecourse in North Yorkshire announced this Wednesday's racing would be cancelled because snow and freezing ground made the track unusable.

Jane Gratton, deputy chief executive of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, said businesses had already taken a hit because of the weather.

She said: "The biggest impact on retailers and the leisure sector will be cash flow. People aren't coming in to spend but they've still got their bills and staff to pay."

The BBC Weather Centre said there was potential for further heavy snow on Tuesday in parts of south-west England and south Wales.

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