Schools shut as snow falls across parts of the UK – and warnings continue

Dozens of schools have closed in northern England and north Wales and travel disruption was reported.

Katie Dickinson
Thursday 08 February 2024 20:03 GMT
Snow falls in Knaresborough, in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Thursday February 8, 2024. (Danny Lawson/PA)
Snow falls in Knaresborough, in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Thursday February 8, 2024. (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Schools have been shut and major travel disruption was reported as snow fell across parts of the UK – and weather warnings are set to last for days.

Dozens of schools closed in northern England and north Wales and travel disruption was reported throughout the day as amber weather warnings were issued.

About 10cm of snow was measured by the Met Office in Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland, on Thursday, while 9cm was recorded in Bingley, West Yorkshire.

A total of 43.2mm of rainfall was measured in Harbertonford, South Devon, almost half of the average the area usually sees in February.

Disruption was also reported by Great Western Railway on the line between Bath and Swindon due to flooding.

Amber weather warnings were issued for Wales and across the Pennines on Thursday which have passed but a mixture of yellow rain and snow warnings are still in force across the four nations.

Yellow warnings will continue across most of the UK on Friday and Scotland on Saturday with the Met Office urging people to “be cautious”.

Met Office operational meteorologist Dan Stroud said overnight temperatures had reached a low of minus 13.8C in Altnaharra, in the Scottish Highlands, while in Exeter temperatures were at a high of 13.6C.

He said: “We’ve still got rain and many have snow making its way northwards, we have got further weather warnings in force.

“Temperatures are recovering a little, across the far south it’s generally mild.

“We’ve got a second band of cloud and rain moving northwards, it makes for challenging driving conditions.

“We’ve had the worst of it but it’s still not completely clear. Where we have falling snow we see there is a risk of a few icy patches on roads.

“The focus is probably starting to shift more towards ice, people should still be cautious.”

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had activated a cold health alert for the Midlands and north of England, warning of the impacts on health and social care until 8pm on Thursday.

School closures have been reported in Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, is urging older people to do all they can to keep warm and safe as the temperature drops.

She said: “High energy bills and food prices mean it is understandable that some may think they have to cut back on food and turn their heating off, but prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can have a serious impact on their health, especially if they are already managing existing illnesses.

“As we get older our bodies find it harder to adjust to big changes in temperature, particularly if we are also coping with ill health or mobility issues. The cold raises blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

The charity gave a number of tips including plenty of hot food and drinks, wrapping up warm outside and sleeping with the windows closed at night. It also advised people to keep an eye on older relatives, friends and neighbours.

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