Weather creates 'miserable' return to work

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The Independent Online

Travellers endured a miserable post-Christmas return to work today with heavy snow in places and persistent rain elsewhere.

And there was little in the way of festive cheer from forecasters who predicted temperatures, which had edged higher in southern England, would plunge everywhere as the week wore on.



Wales was the worst hit area today with substantial snow in the middle of the country and in the Brecon Beacons in the south.



It was predicted that some parts of Wales could see as much as eight to 12ins of snow (20-30cm) later in the day with drifts on top of that.



There was snow on the south Pennines today with heavier falls expected later in Shropshire and Herefordshire.



Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland had snow showers, with Inverness airport not able to open until 11.30am.



Train services in and out of Glasgow Central station were affected by the bad weather, as were services between Perth and Inverness.



In England, signalling problems hit train travellers journeying between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach, while emergency engineering work affected services in the Howden area of Yorkshire.



Elsewhere, more than a dozen planned rail engineering projects led to disruption, although Network Rail (NR) said more trains were running over the holiday period than during last Christmas.



On the roads, a series of accidents led to lane closures and the part-closure of routes.



Roads affected included the M62 in Cheshire, the A66 at Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England, the A19 at Sunderland, the A42 in Leicestershire and the M27 in Hampshire.



For Scotland, the Met Office issued severe weather warnings of widespread icy roads in Strathclyde, Tayside and Fife, central and south-west Scotland and Lothian and Borders.



Most roads in Wales managed to stay open, with gritters working around the clock.



It was reported that sales of salt had soared by up to 400% in supermarkets as customers stocked up to clear slippery paths and roads.



In London, steady rain added to the post-Christmas gloom, although temperatures in southern England rose as high as 9C (48F).



However, Stephen Davenport, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, held out little hope of an end to the winter misery.



He said: "The north of England and Scotland as well as areas of the Midlands that get snow will have below-freezing temperatures tonight.



"The same places that got snow today may well get more falls tomorrow. After that, the temperatures will start to fall and the whole country will be back into the cold regime again."

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