UK weather latest: Heavy snow and ice blitz parts of Britain afters 200 drivers left stranded on motorway overnight

Transport Scotland says it had a 'very difficult night' as mountain rescue teams dispatched to assist snow-bound drivers

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 17 January 2018 12:44
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Heavy snowfall causes disruption for UK drivers

Commuters woke up to transport chaos on Wednesday morning after heavy snow and ice, coupled with powerful winds caused numerous road closures and dangerous driving conditions.

On the Scottish borders a mountain rescue team was dispatched to check on over 200 stranded motorists caught in deep snow on stretches of road between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway.

Tailbacks stretched 12 miles as police declared it a critical incident.

This morning Transport Scotland said it had been a “very difficult night”, and that conditions in the area remained challenging, though traffic was now moving again.

Motorists travel through heavy snow on the M8 in Scotland. Police Scotland urged drivers to only travel if necessary and to keep warm clothes and supplies in vehicles in case of emergency

Across the UK hundreds of schools have been closed with children being kept at home as snow blanketed northern areas.

Over 140 of the school closures were in Northern Ireland where the wintry weather will be joined by fierce winds as Storm Fionn approaches from the Atlantic.

Met Eireann, the national meteorological service in Ireland, has named the storm, which is the sixth storm the service has named this season.

More than a foot (36cm) of snow was recorded in Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway, Glenanne in Co Armagh had 23cm, while Tulloch Bridge in Inverness saw 21cm of snow overnight with temperatures as low as minus 4C, forecasters said.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow on the Scottish borders, and a larger yellow weather warning for heavy snow and ice stretching across the north of England, all of Scotland and Northern Ireland, warning more is on the way.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warning for heavy snow and ice stretching across the north of England, all of Scotland and Northern Ireland, warning more is on the way.

Over the hills, snow will drift in the strong to gale force winds, the service said.

Further south across the midlands, a yellow weather warning has been issued for high winds.

The Met Office’s Nicola Maxey told The Independent the service had renewed weather warnings.

“The amber snow warning, which covers north east England and South West Scotland is where we expect to see the most persistent and heavy snow. We are looking at between 3 - 8cm of fresh snow which will accumulate widely. On the highest ground you are likely to see as much as 20cm. The warning is in place from 9pm tonight until 5am tomorrow.

“Certainly if you’re travelling you need to check delays and cancellations on public transport and think carefully about whether you really need to make your journey.

“There’s likely to be disruption to power supplies and mobile phone signal coverage could be affected, which is an additional factor.”

She added: “The yellow weather warnings which spread across Scotland, northern parts of England and Northern Ireland are areas where we could see persistent and heavy snow. The yellow warning area will see risks to power supply and people should check routes and make sure they have supplies in their cars.

“Take a blanket, take a spade and food and drink just in case you do get trapped. There were people trapped for a long time last night.”

Police Scotland warned there is a high risk of disruption for journeys and said drivers of HGVs should drive with extreme caution.

“Winter driving is a question of common sense and drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor,” police said in a statement.

“If you are travelling on the roads, you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours,” officers added.

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