Snow falls as Britain freezes over

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Britons awoke to a smattering of snow this morning, as communities in the northern part of England and Scotland ushered in December with a festive dusting of the white stuff.

Pockets of the North West and North East reported a few millimetres of snowfall overnight, as temperatures struggled to peak above freezing in many places.

And forecasters say further bursts of sleet and snow are expected this weekend, as Britain braces itself for widespread overnight frosts.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said "just a few millimetres" fell last night, but said: "There's a chance we'll see more snow before the weekend's out."

The white start to the month was enough to prompt record numbers placing bets on snowfall for Christmas Day.

According to bookmakers Ladbrokes, more money had been staked on a white Christmas by today than by any other December 1 in its history.

Last night's snowfall came after 10 days of flooding misery in the UK, where much of south-west England, the Midlands and north Wales were hit by heavy rainfall and gusty winds.

Three people died, hundreds were evacuated from their homes, and thousands of motorists were left stranded as roads were smothered by surging flood water.

At its peak last weekend, four severe flood warnings were put in place, indicating an immediate risk to life due to serious flooding.

Around 150 alerts were in place this morning, with nearly 20 flood warnings - where the risk of flooding is expected - in the south-east of England and the Midlands. However, that number dropped to 120 by lunchtime, and an agency spokeswoman said there was no immediate risk of further flooding as a direct result of the overnight snowfall.

MeteoGroup spokesman Brendan Jones said the country had slipped below freezing in places, adding: "There is a northerly wind blowing across which is why it is so cold, close to minus 5C in some areas.

"It will stay cold for most of next week with a chance of more frost, ice and snow in some areas."

Light snowfall was reported in Cumbria, Teesside and County Durham, while an inch has covered the Pennines and the Southern Uplands.

The Met Office issued a low-level warning of severe weather, affecting much of the UK for the morning.

It said: "Due to the recent wet weather there is an increased risk of icy patches, even on roads that have been treated with salt, where water run off/seepage may wash off any earlier salt treatment.

"The public should be aware of the risk of ice on roads and pavements."

It said there was a real chance of sleet and snow in northern England and much of Scotland by midnight tomorrow, issuing cold weather alerts for much of Britain today.

In Gloucestershire, where the threat of ice lingers having been battered by heavy rainfall last week, the county council's gritting teams are expected to be out throughout the weekend as the weather remains cold.

The council's 33-strong team of gritters will be going out treating key routes around the county in the evening and again in the early hours of the morning, it said.

Emergency services and breakdown companies have also warned motorists to take extra care as the cold weather - tipped to be as low as minus 5C in some areas next week - tightens its grip on the country.

The AA reported record flood-related call-outs at the height of the travel disruption last month, as landslides and debris brought parts of Britain's transport network to its knees, prompting motorists to take a chance on the roads.

Patroller Andy Smith warned today: "This weekend will be winter's first serious test for drivers and their cars.

"Ice is the real concern, as it's been so wet recently, and it's very hard to distinguish between a puddle on the road and treacherous black ice."

He warned motorists to keep their speed down, leave adequate travel time for journeys, and to conduct basic checks to ensure the vehicle is in proper working order.

PA

Suggested Topics
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
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc