Britons have been warned to brace for fresh disruption today after Thursday’s heavy snowfall turned into ice, bringing potentially perilous road conditions, as the disruptive snow has already hit the south of England.
“Thundersnow” storms battered large parts of northern Britain yesterday, with up to 23cm of snow falling in some parts of Scotland, forcing 300 schools to close, while roads ground to a halt and flights were cancelled at Manchester Airport.
Several roads across Yorkshire and Derbyshire have been closed due to the snow and ice today, the BBC reported. Overnight 30 vehicles left abandoned in on the Woodhead Pass near Sheffield had to be moved following more heavy snowfall, and in Staffordshire the snow kept more than 100 schools closed today.
In the South West, the weather has caused the cancellation of ferry sailings from Plymouth to Roscoff until Sunday.
The Met Office has now issued a cold weather warning for London, where snow has already started to fall, though on a far smaller scale than experienced by the north on Thursday, and which is expected to clear up by the end of the day.
Further snow warnings are in place for the northern half of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland on Saturday, moving to cover the coastal edges of Scotland and of South Wales on Sunday.
But forecasters say that ice poses the major threat today with warnings out for most of the country, before a fierce Arctic blast will sweep the country on Saturday and Sunday, making the cold snap last for around a next week, with below average temperatures expected across the country and cold weather warnings lasting until Thursday.
"The main issue for this weekend and the start of next week is going to be the cold and the ice, where people need to be careful on untreated roads," Nicola Maxey, a spokesperson for the Met Office, said.
Maxey said the Artic wind blowing in from the north will feel "bitter", make next week's already below-average temperatures seem colder than they are.
Temperatures will begin to drop this weekend, reaching between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius in the north and between 4 and 5 in the south. Overnight temperatures are not expected to get much above freezing across the country with places such as Newcastle feeling lows of -2 or -3 degrees.
UK weather in pictures: Snow blankets Britain
UK weather in pictures: Snow blankets Britain
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A deserted Goathland Station as blizzard sweeps through North Yorkshire
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A car gets stuck in the snow in Goathland, North Yorkshire
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Snow outside the Houses of Parliament in London
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The sun breaks through the clouds over a snow covered Bodmin Moor in Cornwall
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A man jogs through light snow in St James' Park, London
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Heavy snow on a car in Farncombe, Surrey
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People walking in the heavy snow that fell overnight in the Strathclyde region on January 29, 2015 in Glasgow Scotland.
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
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A horse stands in the snow in Langley
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A woman walks over the bridge covered in snow, in Langley
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The sun rises behind the Victora Tower on a snow covered Castle Hill in Huddersfield
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A stranded motorist makes his way over Dundrod on 29 January, in Northern Ireland
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Motorists make their way over Hannahstown Hill, near Belfast
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It's all good fun if you're off school
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Hector, a Spanish Water Dog, chasing a ball in the snow in Belfast
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A car in the snow near Worrall, South Yorkshire, as Britons were warned to brace themselves for fresh disruption today
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The sunrise over the Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire, on 30 January
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A horse stands against the sleet and snow on January 29, 2015 in Belfast
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Snow ploughs have had their work cut out in Northern Ireland
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A snow covered Durham Cathedral
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Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport covered in a blanket of snow which has closed the airport, as schools, transport and mobile phone signals were disrupted after heavy snow hit parts of the country
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Tractors clear the snow from the runways at Manchester Airport's Terminal 1
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A cyclist makes his way through a blizzard in Durham
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Snow Blizzards on the A9 road near Blackford, Perthshire as snow blizzards sweep across the country
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Cars make their way through the snow in the Loxley area of Sheffield
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Snow covered graves at St Joseph's Church in west Belfast, as an orange weather alert is announced in Northern Ireland
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A snow covered farm near Crook
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A walker braves the bitter weather at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland
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Cars covered in snow at the car park at Manchester Airport's Terminal 1
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A general view of Bradford and the surrounding hills covered in snow, following heavy snow showers
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Children play in the snow in the grounds of Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The Highways Agency yesterday warned of icy roads as temperatures plummet and said its gritters will be out in force.
Holidaymakers were left stranded as Manchester Airport closed both of its runways for several hours, while flights were suspended at East Midlands Airport.
Glum-looking travellers at Manchester Airport were led back off planes carrying hand luggage while airport staff used shovels to clear the snow.
More than a dozen rail services between Manchester and Yorkshire were cancelled and main roads in Durham and Yorkshire were shut.
The disruption was so severe that Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Twitter that he has asked for updates on the weather and measures taken to keep transport systems and energy supplies running.
He said: “I have asked for an update on our heavy snow contingency plans. The gritters are out and people should listen to warnings.”
Northern parts of the UK were worst hit by the snow storms. Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire had 23cm of snow, while there was 21cm at Glenanne in Armagh and Spadeadam in Cumbria had 13cm.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content