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Britain braced for more snow and ice after dozens of schools forced to close

People urged to be cautious as forecasters warn more snow and rain on the way

Matt Mathers
Thursday 08 February 2024 21:43 GMT
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Related video: Buxton residents brave the cold

Britain is bracing for more snow and ice after an Arctic blast forced the closure of dozens of schools across parts of the country.

Yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place throughout Friday across all four UK nations, with forecasters urging people to “be cautious”.

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 gets in February.

Children being pulled on sleds in the Peak District (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

A layer of snow covered roads in Buxton in the Peak District, where up to 25cm of snow had been forecast to fall in hilly areas.

Children were seen playing in the snow, being pulled along slippery roads on sleds by their parents on the way to school.

The snow caused major travel disruption and school closures were reported in Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria.

Snow ploughs were dispatched to clear roads in Woodhead Pass, near Dunford Bridge, South Yorkshire as motorists were urged to take care while driving.

Snow plough on Woodhead Pass, near Dunford Bridge, South Yorkshire. (PA)

Great Western Railway services on the line between Bath and Swindon were disrupted due to flooding as heavy rain and sleet lashed parts of the country.

Amber weather warnings had been issued for Wales and across the Pennines earlier on Thursday.

North Wales Police reported minor traffic collisions due to the ongoing bad weather, with rural areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham particularly badly affected.

Drivers have been urged to “take extra care” and to use main roads when travelling.

The UK Health Security Agency also activated a cold health alert for the Midlands and north of England, warning of the impacts on health and social care.

Yellow rain and snow warnings are still in force across the four nations, with a snow and ice alert in place in northern Scotland until 6pm on Saturday.

Thirteen flood warnings were in place on Thursday night. The Bristol, Hull and Scarborough areas were among some of the places where the warnings were active.

The warnings mean “flooding is expected”. Some 176 less serious flood “alerts” were issued across England.

Snow blankets North Yorkshire as up to 25cm predicted in parts of England and Wales (PA)

Dan Stroud, Met Office operational meteorologist, said temperatures overnight on Thursday plunged to a low of -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.”

A man walks his dog in the snow in North Yorkshire (PA)

He added: “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.”

More travel disruption is possible on Friday, with the Met Office warning that there is a chance of travel delays on roads with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel.

The RAC told drivers to follow official advice if they planned to take to the roads in the snow and ice.

Rod Dennis, breakdown spokesman, said: “It’s vitally important drivers follow guidance from the Met Office and others accordingly whenever there is a warning for severe weather. Waiting until conditions improve might well be the safest and best course of action.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the Met Office says the weather will be unsettled, with showers or longer spells of rain. Snow will become confined to the hills in the north and some brighter spells are possible.

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