Snow brings parts of Britain to a standstill

Wintry weather brought parts of the country to a standstill today as forecasters predicted "a lot more" snow next week and a bitterly cold weekend.

Dozens of schools were closed and many roads were impassable, while a plane from Lanzarote with 196 passengers on board overshot its landing at Newcastle airport.



Though Scotland and the north east of England once again bore the brunt of the bad weather - with dumps of up to 30cm recorded in the Highlands and North Yorkshire - snow was also drifting across Wales and the South West.



Forecasters said the cold snap was set to tighten its grip, blanketing swathes of the country in white by the middle of next week.



Some 10ins (25cm) are expected to fall over higher ground on Saturday and parts of the Midlands and London will not remain unscathed.



Aisling Creevey, of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It's definitely staying cold and going into next week, we could see a lot more snow.



"There is a low pressure system across the country and if it moves the way it is looking to at the moment, it's going to be very windy, very snowy and really bitter."



Even London is likely to get a dusting of the white stuff but this is unlikely to last and any heavy snowfall is likely to be short-lived.



However, people have been warned the wintry spell could last for at least 10 days as biting winds swoop in from the North Sea and night-time temperatures plummet.



During the day, these will struggle to get above freezing in many areas.



The unusual weather - and the earliest November snowfall for 17 years - has been caused by high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltics, forcing cold winds from the north-east across Europe.



It has seen daytime temperatures hover between 0C and 5C and between minus 2C and minus 9.1C overnight, which was recorded at Redesdale Camp, Northumberland.



The county was also hit by one of the heaviest snowfalls yesterday after 6ins fell in some areas.



A similar amount fell in Aberdeenshire, 4.7ins (12cm) and 4ins (10cm) in Durham.











Today the Met Office issued severe weather warnings for widespread icy roads and heavy snow across the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, the East and south-west England as well as parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.



Meanwhile, motorists battled treacherous conditions amid warnings of black ice.



Police said all roads in the Grampian region were covered in snow and ice this morning while the A93 at Glenshee, the A939 to Ballater and the A957 Crathes to Stonehaven, at the Slug Road, were also blocked in places.



Many cars struggled to get off the driveway this morning and by 12.30pm, the AA had attended around 8,000 call-outs which were coming in at more than 1,300 every hour this afternoon.



The motoring organisation expects this figure to exceed 15,000 by the end of the day.



Paul Leather, AA patrol of the year, said: "Cold weather affects the chemical performance of batteries, so they really take a pounding during this weather."



Aberdeenshire council said 121 schools in the area were closed or partially closed because of snow while some children in Durham were also turned away from classes.



Newcastle airport also closed for a short time after the Thomsonfly Boeing 737-800 struggled to land.



No-one on board was injured.



John Hammond, Met Office forecaster, said: "This snow we're seeing at the moment and expecting to see is the heaviest widespread snow since November 1993 when the Highlands got around 12ins (30cm) and North Yorkshire got 10.5ins (27cm).



"Winds are continuing to blow in from a north-easterly direction over the course of the rest of this week and into next week. Even where we haven't had any snow, temperatures are going down to minus 5C or minus 6C in several places."



Forthcoming sporting fixtures could be at risk with racing at Newcastle on Saturday becoming one of the first of the weekend's casualties.



Bad weather could also hit tomorrow's FA Cup second round matches.



The RSPCA was bracing itself for a busy period.



The charity has urged pet-owners to keep dogs away from lakes or ponds which may have iced over and avoid shutting cats out of the house for long periods.



RSPCA wildlife scientist Sophie Adwick added: "Winter can be hard for wildlife and every year the RSPCA rescues lots of animals which are dehydrated, hungry and cold.



"Food and water can be scarce at this time of year anyhow and ground frosts make finding food even more difficult."



The AA said it was called out to 12,000 breakdowns by 4.30pm today and expected to attend more than 16,000 by the end of the day.



The motoring group described it as a "very busy day" with calls coming in at 1,220 every hour ahead of rush-hour.



Wales and the North East were said to be the busiest for breakdowns.



Paul Leather, AA patrol of the year, added: "Although there was less snow last night, black ice has been causing problems, as it's almost impossible to spot and things go wrong very quickly on it.



"Keep your speed down and, where possible, stick to the main roads that have been gritted - it may be that you have to override your sat nav to do this."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss