More commuter misery as Britain's big freeze continues

 

Britain's big freeze shows little sign of relenting with sub-zero temperatures set to bring more misery to commuters up and down the country in the coming days.

Motorists taking to the roads have been warned to expect hazardous driving conditions again today with ice and freezing fog forecast across parts of the UK.

Further flurries of snow could also fall in some parts of England with experts predicting a temperature low of -10C tonight as the shivering spell of weather continues to sweep in from Siberia.

Victoria Kettley, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather arm of the Press Association, said: “Tonight is going to be mostly clear and dry but bitterly, bitterly cold. Across much of England and Wales we will see temperatures dropping to between -4C and -8C and in local spots it could get as low as -10C overnight.”

Six severe weather alerts are in place this morning warning of ice on untreated roads and pavements across much of northern, central and eastern England.

Issuing yellow alerts, which urge people to “be aware”, the Met Office said the public should be aware of “risk of disruption to travel”.

Ms Kettley added: “The snow which fell over the weekend is slowly melting and keeping the roads wet. This moisture then turns to ice when the temperature drops causing dangerous conditions on untreated routes.”

Overnight temperatures dipped to around -6C in Scotland and northern England and between 0C and -1C in southern England, with pockets of freezing fog developing in some low-lying areas.

Wintry showers also hit parts if East Anglia, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.

The Highways Agency confirmed gritters were sent out to treat and clear roads in eastern areas last night and during the early hours of this morning.

Today will mainly be dry and bright in northern parts of the UK, with early wintry showers, cloud and freezing fog in the south clearing as the day progresses.

Some areas of southern England and the Wash could get a light dusting of snow but not any significant accumulations, Ms Kettley said.

The thick blanket of snow that fell over parts of the UK at the weekend caused major travel disruption with a spike in road crashes and breakdowns. A handful of schools were also forced to close yesterday due to the adverse weather conditions, while Heathrow Airport axed half of all flights on Sunday night.

The RAC said it had seen the busiest February weekend in its history, with 41% more calls than usual.

The worst affected area was Devon and Cornwall which had twice the usual number of call-outs. In addition, the south of England had 80% more breakdowns than usual and the West Midlands and Wales had 65% more.

A 25-mile (40km) long section of the A1 northbound was closed for a number of hours yesterday morning following a series of collisions between Allerton Park, near York, and the Catterick area.

PA

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