Motorists warned over icy roads


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The Independent Online

Motorists were warned to continue to take care on the roads as icy conditions made driving treacherous in northern areas today.

The UK is due to experience a spell of unsettled weather, with more snow expected in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England over the next few days.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for most of Scotland, where the first cold snap of winter has so far caused the most disruption.

Gale force winds of up to 92mph are also expected across central Scotland on Thursday and stormy conditions will also spread across other northern areas.

Earlier today the M8 was closed westbound at junction six because of a jack-knifed HGV and diesel on the road, while the junction six slip road to the westbound carriageway was also closed. Drivers were told to approach the area with caution and follow the diversions.

The A77 northbound carriageway was closed at the B7038 Kilmarnock junction because of an accident and the westbound carriageway of the Clydeside Expressway in Glasgow was also closed.

Police said a car skidded on the ice and hit the barrier shortly after 6am.

Warnings were also issued for high winds on the Skye Bridge, icy conditions on the B833 and freezing conditions on the A83 at Tarbert.

The first bout of wintry weather also brought disruption to Scotland's roads yesterday, and left some schools and airports closed.

The Scottish Government said 120 gritters had been out on motorways and trunk roads overnight.

In the north of England, icy conditions were believed to have led to the death of a lorry driver on the A160 in north Lincolnshire who lost control of his white Scania vehicle at about 4.14am yesterday.

Chris Burton, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said that while northern areas can expect more snowfall, none is expected further south.

Temperatures are set to rise over the next couple of days, reaching a mild 12C to 13C on Thursday, before plummeting to as low as -4C in London on Friday night.

A band of rain, sleet and snow was pushing eastwards across the north of the country tonight, bringing tomorrow's warmer weather when scattered showers are expected.

On Thursday wet and windy conditions will envelope much of the UK before it gets colder.

By the weekend more snow will fall across higher areas of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Snowdonia and the Peak District, while hail and sleet is expected in lower areas.

Mr Burton said there will be a similar amount of snow as to what has already fallen in recent days - about 5-10cm on hills and around 2cm in lower lying areas.

He added: "I'm sure the ski resorts in the far north of Scotland, the Highlands and Grampian are going to have quite considerable amounts over the next few days."

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: "We advise drivers to plan their journey carefully in these conditions by checking weather forecasts and traffic updates before they travel by road.

"Drivers should also allow for extra time for their journeys in extreme conditions and consider whether their journey is essential."