Chaos already – and now the cold will really bite

Hundreds of schools shut across the country yesterday, as thick snow continued to fall and temperatures plummeted to well below freezing. Thousands of homes were without power and roads and airports were closed, causing travel chaos. Forecasters were warning that temperatures could plunge even lower last night, to -20C, as snow was expected to hit London and the Home Counties .

Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North-east of England and Cornwall were the worst affected. Around 3,000 homes in Scotland were left with no electricity, while thunderstorms also caused power cuts in Cornwall. The severe weather is expected to continue until next week.

Durham Tees Valley and Edinburgh airports were forced to close, although Edinburgh later partially reopened to allow flights to land. A spokesman for the airport said he was "hopeful" the airport could fully reopen later tonight.

In Tayside and Perth, 3,000 homes were without power, though Scottish and Southern Energy said power would be restored to "the vast majority" by midnight last night.

Police have advised drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary; hundreds of motorists were trapped in their cars in Scotland on Sunday night after several lorries jack-knifed on the A9 between Dunblane and Perth, causing miles of tailbacks. More than 600 people were offered emergency accommodation in a Perth sports hall after being stranded in heavy snow on the A9, one of the busiest roads in Scotland.

Warnings over icy roads have been issued across Wales, Scotland and parts of England. One driver was fighting for his life in hospital after he was hit by an out-of-control car in snowy conditions on the M1. The 40-year-old man from Wallsend, North Tyneside, was injured in a multiple vehicle pile-up near Sheffield at 8am yesterday.

Councils have increased stockpiles of salt and grit but in Aberdeenshire, one of the worst-affected areas, supplies have been rationed.

The council said it had used 12,000 tons of salt so far this year, compared with 3,500 tons during the same period in 2009, but it expected fresh supplies to arrive later this week.

More than 450 schools are closed in England, with Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, East Yorkshire and Shropshire particularly affected.

In Scotland, more than 800 schools are closed, from Shetland down to Edinburgh and the Lothians. About 93 schools across Northern Ireland are closed because of the bad weather, while 10 schools are closed in Wales. Rubbish collections were suspended in North Tyneside to allow refuse-collection vehicle drivers and crews to help grit roads.

It is the earliest widespread snowfall in the UK since 1993. With the Greater London area and Kent at risk of snowfall last night, the Met Office warned that drifting snow could cause disruption to road and rail networks towards the end of the week.

David Sparks, of the Local Government Association, said councils were prepared to cope with the winter weather. He said: "Local authorities this year have made unprecedented preparations for the winter."

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices