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UK weather live: Travel updates as snow and ice cause school closures, cancellations at Heathrow and Gatwick and treacherous road conditions

Temperatures drop as low as -12C in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland

UK becomes a winter wonderland as snow falls

Freezing temperatures, ice and snow have affected travel across the UK, with disruption to roads, railways and airports.

Motorists are being warned of havoc on the roads on Monday as snow turns into ice following plummeting temperatures over the weekend, which saw the mercury drop as low as -12C in Northumberland.

National Rail has said the poor conditions have affected travel across England and Wales, with Virgin Trains, Great Western and CrossCountry services all affected.

Hundreds of schools are due to close and up to 50,000 passengers have been left stranded at London’s Heathrow Airport after British Airways experienced problems de-icing a backlog of planes.

Keep up to date with the latest information on our live blog.

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent's live blog as freezing temperatures, ice and snow wreak cause disruption across the UK.

We'll bring you the latest throughout the day as thousands of passengers are stranded at airports and hundreds of schools shut.

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Hundreds of schools shut and drivers warned of chaos as cold snap set to hit -15C

Motorists are being warned of havoc on the roads on Monday as snow turns into ice following a weekend wintry blast.

Hundreds of schools are due to be closed at the start of the working week following a cold night which saw temperatures drop as low as -11.6C (11F) in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland.

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Our travel correspondent Simon Calder reports on chaos at Heathrow Airport, where hundreds of British Airways flights have been cancelled: 

50,000 passengers stranded after de-icing meltdown at Heathrow 

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Disruption to road, rail and air travel

People travelling on roads, trains and planes are all suffering today:

  •  Dozens of flights are showing as cancelled at Heathrow this morning, with the airport blaming the the disruption on "crew and aircraft being out of position"
  • British Airways says it has reduced its flight schedule from Heathrow due to the forecast of continued bad weather. Torrential overnight rain meant that de-icing could not begin until the first wave of planes were ready to go
  • Seven flights have been cancelled at Edinburgh airport, while Manchester airport has 13 departures listed as cancelled.
  • National Rail said poor weather conditions are affecting travel across England and Wales. Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western, and Virgin Trains will all be affected, while East Midlands Trains customers are being advised to check their trains are running before setting off
  • Police say lane three on the M42 in the West Midlands, between junctions 1 and 3, and lane three on the M5 between junction 4a and junction 3, are impassable. Only lanes one and two running on both motorways
  • The slip road to Stansted airport on the M11 eastbound was closed overnight for carriageway treatment due to freezing temperatures, according to Highways England
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Temperatures of -12.2C recorded

The coldest temperature recorded in the UK overnight was in the appropriately named Chillingham Barns, Northumberland, where the mercury fell to -12.2C: 

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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has restored power to more than 50,000 homes in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

The energy firm said 800 of its customers remained without power as 8am today. It blamed heavy snow, blocked roads and 70mph winds for slowing down repairs.

The remaining faults are affecting customers in North Leach, Burford, Grove, Farringdon and Kidlington in Oxfordshire and Hannington, Wiltshire

Welfare vans have been sent to serve hot food and drinks to people left without electricity.

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Thousands of homes without power

More than 7,800 homes across the Midlands, Wales and south-west England are still power this morning, according to Western Power Distribution (WPD.)

The energy firm said it had restored power to more than 2,000 other customers overnight. 

Most of the affected properties are in the West Midlands, where some of the heaviest snow fell this weekend. Nearly 7,000 WPD customers in the region were still without power as of 9.25am today.

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Even former Premier League footballers faced a difficult commute this morning, it seems. Here's what ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen woke up to: 

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Heathrow Airport has issued updated advice to passengers, warning of continued disruption "due to crew and aircraft being out of position following yesterday's weather".  Dozens of flights have been cancelled today, affecting thousands of passengers, many flying with British Airways.

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Several National Trust attractions in Wales have been forced to close today. Wrexham's Chirk Castle and Powis Castle and Garden are among the sites shut due to heavy snow. 

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