Winter holds its grip on Wales, Scotland and the North

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Winter's final offensive has a few more days to run yet, forecasters warned yesterday, after heavy snow fell in north Wales, Scotland and the north.

In parts of north Wales up to 4ins (10cm) of snow fell overnight. Police advised people not to travel unless absolutely necessary, while an AA spokeswoman said the M6 south of Lancaster was badly affected by snow and the A588 near Fleetwood, in Lancashire, was impassable. In North Yorkshire vehicles were abandoned on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough.

In northern Scotland, the RAC had to send out extra staff to deal with the high level of emergencies, and a spokesman said a number of roads had been closed in the Aberdeenshire area.

As the day wore on, widespread sunshine assisted a thaw and helped to raise temperatures in the snowless Midlands and south, but spring weather is still some days away. Wintry showers are expected in the far west, parts of the Midlands and down the east coast. Elsewhere, clear skies will mean the cold will persist. Relief, in the form of some warmth and rain is due on Tuesday, with temperatures in some places reaching the dizzy heights of 8C (46F).

Anyone planning an escape would do well to avoid Mauritius for a while. It raised its warning level yesterday as cyclone Diwa approached.