Parts of Britain were covered in a beautiful blanket of snow today as voters were warned surfaces and roads could be slippery while heading to the polls to cast their ballot in the General Election.
The Met Office advised people to take care when walking or driving today, with ice and wintry showers expected in parts of Scotland after temperatures fell to as low as -5C (23F) overnight.
Two weather warnings were implemented this morning – one which stretches from Perth, north through central Scotland, to Wick, and the other, further south, covering an area between Thornhill and Lanark.
The first snow of the English winter lies on the ground near Carrshield, south west of Hexham, in Northumberland, today
A woman clears snow and ice from the paths at the entrance to the polling station at Tomatin village hall near Inverness today
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: ‘We have showers passing through many parts of the UK today, and there’s a risk of that turning to ice and there could be some snow in parts of Scotland.’
He added that wintry showers were only expected in areas above 650ft (200m), and said: ‘We are not expecting they will cause any real disruption. That is why it is an ice warning, rather than a snow warning.’
Aside from the Scotland forecast, meteorologists say the rest of the UK will have a chilly and damp December day with daytime temperatures of just 3C (37F) in Newcastle, 6C (43F) in Norwich and 11C (52F) in Plymouth.
Forecaster Luke Miall said: ‘It’s going to be a cold start, with frost and ice across some eastern areas first thing. After that, things will be turning wet and windy throughout the day.
Snow fell across the tops of the Peak District earlier, with more expected over the Pennines as this latest snowdar shows
This afternoon’s forecast is for rain in many parts of England (left), before temperatures drop to -3C in Scotland tonight (right)
The Killhope Lead Mining Museum in County Durham is surrounded by snow today on a wintry day in northern England
A woman clears the snow at the entrance to a polling station at Dalwhinnie in the Highlands during the General Election today
A light covering of snow over Nenthead on the Cumbria and Northumberland border is photographed this morning
A woman and a child walk on a road covered in snow to a polling station in Dalwhinnie today during the general election
‘Winds will be particularly strong across the south coast of England, and we will then see some showers following on behind. It’s looking unsettled for most, but that’s nothing unusual for the time of year.’
It will stay fairly cold throughout the day, before temperatures tonight are expected to fall to about 6C (43F) in Plymouth, 5C (41F) in Norwich, 2C (36F) in Newcastle and -3C (27F) in Scotland.
Not since 1923 has a General Election been held in the month of December, when extreme weather could deter elderly and infirm people from going out to vote.
A huge contingency plan has been put in place in some of Scotland’s more remote locations to ensure the votes reach the counting stations.
The moves could prove essential given that voters on one Scottish island encountered their own landslide before polling day when mud and rubble cascaded onto a road on Raasay on Tuesday.
The Killhope Lead Mining Museum in County Durham, on the site of the former Park Level Mine, is surrounded by snow today
A woman clears the snow at the entrance of a polling station in Dalwhinnie in the Highlands during the general election today
A light covering of snow over Nenthead on the Cumbria and Northumberland border this morning
Two people walk along a road covered in snow to a polling station in Dalwhinnie today to vote in the gneral election
The first snow of the English winter lies on the ground near Carrshield, southwest of Hexham, in Northumberland today
A light covering of snow on the Northumberland border is photographed this morning as a Nissan car drives past
Highland Council has switched the location for its count because Inverness Leisure Centre is easier to keep warm than first choice Ross County Football Academy in Dingwall, Ross-shire.
The council has 4×4 vehicles on standby to help anyone who gets into difficulty. Volunteers will be able to transport people and ballot boxes to secure locations.
Boats are also at the ready in case the weather prevents ballot boxes being flown by helicopter, as planned.
A Highland Council spokesman said: ‘We have made preparations to increase gritting around polling stations and to provide lighting in the event of power cuts to ensure safe access and egress by voters and election staff.’
‘Suddenly my car was filled with water… my little girl was terrified’: Mother tells of ordeal as three people are saved from floods
By JOHN PAUL BRESLIN FOR THE SCOTTISH DAILY MAIL
A mother and toddler had to be rescued along with a pensioner after their cars were stuck in floodwater.
‘Heroic’ members of the public helped the stranded motorists as torrential rain and gale-force winds lashed Scotland.
The downpours also caused landslides and disrupted road, rail and ferry travel – while a police officer narrowly escaped being trapped in his patrol car after it was crushed by a toppled lorry.
Trapped: Nikki Birgit Campbell (left), 36, and her 23-month-old daughter Rhea (right) were stuck in flooding along with a pensioner
Last night, the stranded mother, Nikki Birgit Campbell, 36, said she and her 23-month-old daughter Rhea, who has cerebral palsy, were returning from a visit to a hospital in Glasgow to meet Santa. They were rescued on the A762 near Glenlee, Kirkcudbrightshire.
A 73-year-old man was also pulled to safety from another vehicle. The emergency services were alerted about 3.40pm on Tuesday.
In a video posted online, Miss Campbell, from Annan, Dumfriesshire, thanked two local men who pulled them to safety, describing them as ‘heroes’. She added: ‘If it wasn’t for them then I don’t know what would have happened to us.
‘We drove a road I have driven so many times that was flooded… unfortunately my car isn’t as hardcore as I thought it was.
‘Before I knew it my car was filled with water. I was trying to keep Rhea safe. I feel like such a bad mum for putting my baby in that danger. She was so scared… I’m still very, very scared and upset over what happened.’
It is believed Miss Campbell’s car will be written off, while Rhea’s wheelchair and an iPad were lost in the flood. The pensioner was saved by two workers from hydro power firm Drax, Robert Peacock and Daniel Hunter, who waded through chest-deep water to reach him.
Mr Peacock said: ‘It was by chance we came across the elderly gentleman. He had been stranded in his car in freezing water for an hour. We couldn’t open the doors and ended up having to smash the rear window to drag him out.
‘I think hypothermia would have set in soon had we not got to him.’
All three were taken to Dumfries and Galloway Hospital and were discharged after being treated for minor injuries.
A driver tries to make her way through flooding in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, on Tuesday as rain lashed parts of Scotland
Chief Inspector Bryan Lee of Police Scotland said: ‘I can’t praise the officers and members of the public involved in these rescues enough.
‘Their actions, which were nothing short of heroic, saved the lives of three people. Without their bravery this could have had a very different outcome.’
Cars also battled flooding in Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.
Elsewhere, access to the village of Kylerhea, on the Isle of Skye, was restored yesterday morning after it had been cut off by a landslide.
Mud slid from the hillside amid heavy rain and wind on Tuesday evening, with Highland Council workers needing a digger to clear up to 400ft of debris.
A landslide also blocked a road on the neighbouring Isle of Raasay. In the Central Belt, flooding at Blairhill in Coatbridge disrupted services through Glasgow’s Queen Street Station, while floodwater at Muirhouse, in the city’s South Side, affected the Cathcart Circle line
There were delays and cancellations between Edinburgh and Dunbar, East Lothian, due to damaged wires on the East Coast main line, and delays on the Glasgow to Aberdeen route in the morning after a flood alarm for the River Earn viaduct was activated.
CalMac sailings were disrupted on the West Coast, with the ferry operator hoping to run a revised service on many routes today.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency had seven flood alerts in place yesterday and 12 more serious flood warnings, while the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for ice across the Highlands, including Inverness. Meanwhile, a police officer last night told of his narrow escape after his patrol car was crushed by a lorry blown over by high winds.
Sergeant John Easton was ‘carrying out scene protection’ after a lorry toppled over on the A1 between Haddington and Dunbar at 10.15am on Tuesday. A second lorry that was driving past was then blown over, crushing his car.
He said: ‘I was on the radio when the lorry started to fall over… fortunately I walked away unscathed. I won’t forget why the area’s called the ‘Windy Bridge’ now.’