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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin