5 Feb 2012

Snow causes disruption but will weather get worse?

As snow causes travel disruption across England, Channel 4 News weather presenter Liam Dutton warns that ice means more delays could be on the way.

Snowfall of up to 16cm has been recorded in North Yorkshire while elsewhere the wintry weather grounded planes and caused disruption.

Half of all flights have been axed at Heathrow – hours after it stopped snowing.

The decision came as wintry showers ceased across the country and forecasters predicted dry conditions and a partial thaw.

A spokesman for Heathrow said the move was designed to minimise disruption and in anticipation of possible freezing fog. The airport insisted its “snow plan” had worked “far better” than in previous years.

Operations resumed at Stansted, Luton and Birmingham airports with some delays.

In Luton, flights were “fully operational” with some delays due to snow clearing.

A couple of departures were cancelled at Stansted but a spokesman for the airport said there was “movement” on and off the runway, adding: “Flights are subject to delays of up to about one hour”.

Two people walk through the snow-laden footpaths of Alexandra Park, north London (Getty)
It isn't the snow that will continue to be a problem writes Channel 4 News weather presenter Liam Dutton.

Whilst the snow may have stopped falling, the next major concern will be widespread ice – especially for central and eastern parts of the UK where snow thaws slightly during today, then quickly freezes again tonight.

Read more from Liam's weather blog here.

M25 ‘unbelievable’

On the roads, motorists faced what the RAC described as a “dangerous cocktail of driving conditions” and were urged to stay at home where possible. Some minor routes closed altogether.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said there had been around 60 minor road collisions across the county since yesterday afternoon as a result of the weather.

He said road conditions were still “somewhat treacherous” but were beginning to improve.

Thames Valley Police said the snow caused a tailback between junctions nine and four southbound on the M40 from about 9pm until the early hours of today.

Drivers on sections of the M25 were trapped in gridlock throughout the night.

Hannah Scott, a musician, was travelling back from a gig when she got stuck for an hour on the motorway after mistakenly joining it in the wrong direction because all the signs were covered in snow.

She told Channel 4 News it was unbelievable: “To see people out on the motorway having a cigarette, guys out pushing cars, there were no lanes and cars were weaving in and out past each other when they picked up enough momentum.”

The Highways Agency has issued an amber alert, advising people to take extra care while travelling because of “the increased risk of adverse driving conditions”.

Kevin Andrews, RAC patrol ambassador, said the wintry weather and sub-zero temperatures had left roads “extremely treacherous”.

Rail services are also affected, with disruption set to continue.

Southern Railway said trains were subject to delay and cancellation, with journey times extended by up to 30 minutes.