Snow brings M6 near Wigan to a standstill

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Media captionMotorists entertained themselves with a northbound v southbound snowball fight

Heavy snowfall left motorists stranded for hours in their cars on motorways in the north of England.

The Highways Agency closed the M6 in both directions between junctions 25 and 27, near Wigan, at about 20:30 GMT.

The M6, as well as the M56 and M58 which were also blocked, are now all moving again but remain heavily congested with long tailbacks, Lancashire Police said.

Up to 15cm (6in) of snow has fallen across northern England since Friday.

'Stay in your car'

At 03:00 GMT, Lancashire Police tweeted: "Be reassured, we're doing all we can to get things moving again.

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Media captionDavid Morris, MP: "It was a bit of a party atmosphere; a family was building a snowman"

"There's been up to a foot of snow on some parts of the motorway but the snow ploughs are doing their best to shift it."

Jason Barr, who was stranded on the M6, said: "The only information we're getting at the moment is stay in your cars. If you have enough fuel, keep your engines on to keep your heating on.

"I'm quite lucky, I've got some water, some food. I've got a charger for my phone and some spare fuel in my back, so I'm quite well prepared.

"But I do imagine there's other people a little bit worse off than me. I mean, I've tried to get past certain cars and there's people that have given up and are asleep in the middle of the lanes, in their cars."

'Snowball fights'

David Morris, the Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, was stuck on the M6 for more than three hours.

He told the BBC the snow "came from nowhere".

"It's a surreal scene to be had. We've even been having snowball fights on the M6."

A spokesman for the agency said: "The snowstorms became very heavy last night and many drivers became stuck in the snow, especially heavy lorries as they tried to make it up hills.

"Some drivers abandoned their cars which has made it difficult for us to clear paths through the snow.

"We have had to move the cars to the side while staff continue to clear the areas, but we are urging people not to leave their cars."

Elsewhere, flights have been suspended at Leeds Bradford Airport as a fresh blanket of snow covered most of the Yorkshire region.

Temperatures will steadily rise to an average of 4C later before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday followed by wet and windy weather next week, forecasters said.

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