Snow sweeps into the north

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Wintry conditions caused treacherous conditions on the roads in Northern England and Scotland as up to six inches of snow fell today.

Heavy falls came down in North East England and South East Scotland as a wet weather front met cold air which has been sitting over the country.

Strong winds caused drifting, forcing roads to shut, or lane closures on dual-carriageways, on higher ground.

There were reports of up to 100 schools closed in West Yorkshire, around 30 in North Yorkshire, and a dozen more closed in Northumberland.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said rain was expected to come in during the day, pushing the snow clouds out, but they could return tomorrow.

Up to 15cm fell in the Scottish Borders, and hazardous conditions were reported on the roads in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and across Yorkshire.

Forecaster Tom Tobler said: "North East England is getting the worst of it at the moment.

"Last night parts of Wales had snow, and Scotland too over the higher ground.

"There may be snow or sleet tomorrow, but nothing like what we have seen this morning."

Driving conditions on the M62 across the Pennines at Huddersfield were poor, and parts of the A1 in Northumberland were down to one lane.

In County Durham, a police spokesman said: "There are problems on the roads pretty much everywhere you look in the force at the moment."

Police said the A66 trans-Pennine road was closed westbound to motorists from North Yorkshire to Cumbria because of heavy snow.

The picture was brighter elsewhere with temperatures to get up to 10C in parts of southern England, 8-9C in Midlands, with a drier day for many tomorrow.

Over the next week or so, temperatures are forecast to be about average for December (4-7C in the daytime) with some unsettled showery weather before a drier weekend.

The adverse weather conditions led to school closures across the North West of England.

In Greater Manchester, 86 schools in Rochdale confirmed they would be closed, 15 schools in Bury did not open, and nine in Oldham were closed.

A Rochdale Borough Council spokeswoman said: "Decisions to close schools are not taken lightly, but health and safety has to be the priority. We have advised all schools to re-open tomorrow."

A further seven schools were shut in Bolton.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said the total of schools shut was 70. In Cumbria, 34 schools were closed.

The snow and sleet also led to the cancellation of a number of sporting and social events this weekend.

In Blackburn, all football matches due to take place on council pitches have been called off, while in nearby Darwen, the local ladies choir cancelled a concert in Darwen Library on Saturday.