Flights were grounded, roads were blocked and schools were closed today as whiteout Britain was gripped by a deep freeze – with temperatures expected to fall to -11C (12F) and ‘very significant snowfall’ still on the way.
Manchester Airport was closed this morning as workers desperately tried to clear the runway of snow, with passengers complaining of ‘mayhem’ as people were stuck on planes and flights redirected to other airports.
Customers complained of a lack of updates on the situation, with one tweeting: ‘I’ll never understand why airports in Switzerland and Austria all cope with meters of snow and yet Manchester Airport shuts after 5cm of the stuff?’
Liverpool Airport also temporarily halted flights. Some 115 schools were closed across Greater Manchester today – including at least six in each of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Stockport and Rochdale – plus another 11 in Staffordshire.
Moisture blown in from a storm in France teamed with Arctic winds from the North has led to flurries and sub-zero conditions, with Transport for London activating their cold weather strategy and running de-icing trains overnight.
Cars travel on an icy road near Sevenoaks in Kent today as significant snow hits the South East for the first time this winter
Flights at Manchester Airport are disrupted this morning following heavy snowfall in the area overnight
Snow in Lower Kingswood, Surrey, this morning as Britain wakes up to sub-zero temperatures in many areas
Snow surrounds the statue of The Beatles in Liverpool today as forecasters predict ‘very significant snowfall’ this week
Two people walk along a snow covered road in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, this morning
Liverpool Airport temporarily halted flights this morning due to the severe weather that hit parts of Britain overnight
Customers complained of a lack of updates on the situation at Manchester Airport, with one tweeting: ‘I’ll never understand why airports in Switzerland and Austria all cope with meters of snow and yet Manchester airport shuts after 5cm of the stuff?’
A further weather system forecast to arrive tomorrow could break this winter’s current record low of -10.8C (12.6F) set on January 18 in Aberdeenshire, and bring up to 4in (10cm) of snow even to parts of southern England.
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice covered most of the UK today, after the lowest temperature recorded overnight was -6.8C (20F) at Aonach Mor in the Highlands, followed by -6C (21F) at Topcliffe in North Yorkshire.
Snow fell overnight in London, but forecasters said the ‘messy’ nature of the weather front, which was a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, meant the problems it caused were ‘patchy’ and not as widespread as feared.
However, the warning in Scotland, Northern Ireland and most of the UK runs until 11am today, while the South East, London and East Anglia are covered until 12pm.
The warning in Scotland, Northern Ireland and most of the UK runs until 11am today, while the South East is covered until noon
Another weather warning is in place for much of England and Wales from 3pm tomorrow until midday on Friday. The Met Office expects a second cold front with rain and snow to sweep from West to East.
Where and when are the Met Office warnings?
SCOTLAND & NORTHERN IRELAND
Snow and ice: 3pm yesterday until 11am today
SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Snow and ice: 5pm yesterday until 12pm today
ENGLAND (NOT SOUTH EAST) AND WALES
Snow and ice: 12pm yesterday until 11am today
ENGLAND AND WALES
Snow and ice: 3pm tomorrow until 12pm Friday
Journeys on the roads could take ‘a lot’ longer and should be avoided if possible, warned Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill.
Mr Burkill said: ‘Looking further ahead, it’s what happens on Thursday that has the potential to be more disruptive. It does have the potential to bring some very significant snow. We have already got a warning out in force for it.
‘It’s currently just a yellow warning, but it’s not out of the question that will be ramped up nearer the time. It’s looking like it will be a spell of persistent snow.’
The year’s record low, recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on January 18 is also likely to be beaten. Benton, in Oxfordshire, and Santon Downham, Suffolk, are among parts of England which could be coldest.
‘I think Scotland will probably be the coldest place but it’s not out of the question we get into negative double figures in parts of England,’ Mr Burkill said.
Tomorrow will start off ‘very cold’ as the weather system pushes eastwards from the South West. Areas of higher ground could get up to 4in (10cm) of snow.
‘It’s worth bearing in mind there will be some disruption, particularly to travel. If you’re heading out on the roads, be aware your journey will take a lot longer than normal,’ Mr Burkill added.
Snow ploughs at Liverpool John Lennon Airport today after it temporarily halted flights due to the severe weather
Snow on cars in Liverpool today as forecasters predict temperatures to plunge to -11C in some parts of the country
Two people chose to ski to work in West Didsbury, Greater Manchester, this morning as the roads became dangerous for cars
A picture postcard scene of snow on the ground in the Cheshire village of Disley on the edge of the Peak District this morning
‘Snow 2019’ is written on a vehicle in Liverpool this morning as forecasters expect further snowfall later this week
Bickerstaffe Church of England School in Lancashire tweeted this photograph today, saying that the school had been closed
‘There’s an ice risk which is going to cause some problems so even if there is no snow it could be icy on the roads and pavement which people need to be aware of.’
Official Met Office figures for snowfall yesterday showed the worst-hit areas were Tulloch Bridge, Inverness-shire, with 4.3in (11cm), and Spadeadam, Cumbria, with 4in (10cm).
Councils have prepared for heavy snowfall, with more than 1.4million tonnes of salt stockpiled, the Local Government Association said.
Age UK is advising vulnerable and elderly Britons to stock up on medicines and ensure they have plenty of food at home.
The charity suggests keeping blankets, food and a shovel in the car, torches in case of a power cut and emergency numbers at hand.
Malcolm Booth, of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, echoed the advice, saying: ‘It is very easy to get caught off-guard when cold weather sets in so it might be wise to stock up on basics so there is something warm to eat and will save having to venture out in the worst of the weather.
‘It is easy to forget how traumatic a cold snap can be. It is important to keep warm, eat well and avoid going out in the worst conditions.’
Yesterday, there was a blanket of snow on higher ground in Wales, the Peak District, Cumbria, the Scottish Highlands and the Pennines, and cars became stranded on roads near Aberystwyth.
Today, vehicles were stranded on the A38 between Whiddon Down and Okehampton on Dartmoor. Devon and Cornwall Police said there were more than 20 driving incidents in an hour yesterday morning – mostly in Devon.
Schools across North Wales were forced to close while police urged motorists to avoid Blaenau Ffestiniog due to the appalling conditions. A car overturned on the M6 near Shap in Cumbria, where the thick snow caused chaos.
Meanwhile, police in Scotland caught one motorist driving a snow-covered car with just a small square of windscreen cleared to see through – and the vehicle’s rear and side windows completely covered.
Pictures of the car were posted on social media by police before the driver was stopped in the Scottish Highlands and given a fixed penalty notice.
A low pressure system affecting France – named Storm Gabriel by the French – is sending moisture over Scotland, which turns to snow as soon as this hits the cold air flow.
Snow is seen over buildings in Manchester this morning after the city experienced heavy snowfall overnight
Snow falls this morning in the Monton Green area of Salford, Greater Manchester
Two cars were involved in a crash on a snowy road in Manchester this morning
Highways England posted this picture of snow on a main road in the North West as it urged drivers to ‘take exta care’
Yesterday, thousands of motorists were held up as a blanket of snow arrived in time for the morning rush hour. The M77 was jammed from Ayrshire to Glasgow city centre as snow settled.
A pre-arranged wide load was escorted along the M8 – despite the yellow warning – resulting in tailbacks at Blackburn and Livingston, West Lothian.
At Kirk O’ Shotts, Lanarkshire – the highest point on the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh – an accident blocked one lane of the eastbound carriageway.
More than 300 pupils in the Highlands had a day off school due to the snow, with two secondaries and eight primaries closed. Farther south, schoolchildren in Lanark made their way to classes amid heavy snowfall.
* Have you taken any photos of the snow in Britain today? Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org *
School closures as North West is hit by bad weather
Some 115 schools were closed across Greater Manchester due to the severe weather today – including at least six in each of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Stockport and Rochdale – plus another 15 in Staffordshire. Here is the full list:
Falinge Park High School
St Cuthbert’s RC
Holy Trinity CE School
St Gabriel’s CE School
Hopwood Hall College
Castleton Children’s Centre
Deeplish Children’s Centre
Crompton House Church of England School
Christ Church CE
Darul Hadis Latifah Northwest
Bramhall High School
Marple Hall School
Castle Hill High School
St James’ High School
St Anne’s RC High School
Laurus Cheadle Hulme
St Anne’s PE
Cheadle Hulme High
Green Bank Prep
Banks Lane Infants
Harrytown Catholic High School
Elton High School, Bury
Spring Lane School
Hazel Grove High School
Holy Cross College
Gorsefield Primary School
Woodhey High School
St Andrews Primary School
St Joseph’s Primary School
Holcombe Brooke Primary
Sunny Bank Primary School
Peel Brow Primary School
Hazlehurst Primary School
Stubbins Primary School
St Monica’s RC High School
Reddish Vale High School
Ribble Drive Primary
Sunny Bank Primary
Abraham Moss School
Manchester Grammar School
Withington Girls’ School
West Didsbury CE School
Manchester High School for Girls
Manchester Vocational and Learning Academy
Plymouth Grove Primary School
William Hulme’s Grammar School
St Barnabas CE
Manchester Enterprise Academy
Cedar Mount Academy
St Peter’s RC High School
Melland High School
Connell Sixth Form College
St James Primary
Loreto High School
Newall Green Primary School
Saint Paul’s Catholic High School
Bridgelea Primary School (both Withington and Longsight sites)
Ladybridge High School
Beacon Primary School
Horwich Parish CE
Personal Learning Centre
Flixton Girls School
St James and Emmanuel
Altrincham College of Arts
Acre Hall Primary
Lime Tree Academy
Altrincham Girls Grammar
Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College
Ashton-on-Mersey High School
Seymour Park CPS
Alder Community High
All Saints CC
Russell Scott Primary
Clarendon Sixth Form College
Fred Longworth High School
Alder Brook Primary Partnership Centre
Chatsworth High School
Harrop Fold School
St Mary’s CE
St Paul’s Peel CE
Salford City Academy
The Clifton Centre PRU
Chatworth High School
Dove Bank Primary School
St. Edward’s CofE Academy, Cheddleton
Blackshaw Moor CE(VC) First School
The Meadows Special School
St. Bartholomew’s CE(VC) Primary School, Longnor
Rushton CE(VC) Primary School
Blackfriars Academy, Newcastle
St Michael’s CofE (C) First School, Horton
Horton Lodge Community Special School
St. Anne’s CE(VC) Primary School, Brown Edge