30 Nov 2010

UK snow to continue into the night

Heavy snow is expected to continue, bringing widespread disruption to travellers with roads, railways and airports affected. More than a thousand schools were closed today as the snow spread south.

UK snow has reached the routh east of England (Reuters)

Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport are both open but experiencing minor delays and some cancellations. Edinburgh Airport, is open this evening following earlier closures. BAA is advising all passengers to contact their airlines before flying.

The snow spread to the south east of England for the first time today since this cold snap began. Bitter easterly winds continued to bring Arctic conditions and forecasters have warned there is little chance of an early repreive.

Train services all over the country were badly affected by the severe weather, with some services not operating and others being badly delayed. The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said that, as of 1pm today, 70 per cent of trains were arriving at their destination on time.

Buses had to replace some trains on Southeastern services from Ramsgate to Dover Priory via Deal in Kent, while passengers travelling between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in Kent also had to take buses.

To add to travel difficulties in the south of England, a signalling problem in the Redhill area of Surrey led to delays to services run by the First Capital Connect, First Great Western, Gatwick Express and Southern train companies.

Click on the image below to see more pictures from the Channel 4 News snow gallery

With snow spreading to the London suburbs for the first time during this cold spell, services on London Overground between London and Watford Junction in Hertfordshire were delayed.

The bad conditions led to disruption to all East Coast Main Line services, particularly in Scotland and the North of England.

The East Coast train company had to introduce a revised timetable which included an hourly service between Edinburgh and London and reduced London-Leeds and reduced London to Newcastle-upon-Tyne services.

A number of ScotRail services were unable to run including Dalmuir to Springburn, Dalmuir to Larkhall, Motherwell to Cumbernauld and Edinburgh to Dunbar.

On the roads, a series of accidents on main roads led to road closures.

The RAC said it had its busiest-ever November day on Monday, attending 14,000 breakdowns across the UK.

The AA warned of hazardous driving conditions after it recorded one of its busiest days on record yesterday with almost 20,000 breakdowns. Today it received an average of 1,350 calls an hour, a spokesman said.

The RAC has rescued more than 55,000 drivers since the start of this cold snap, adding that callouts to breakdowns peaked at 2,000 an hour today.

The latest travel information can be found at Traffic England, Traffic Scotland, Traffic Wales and the Northern Ireland Roads Service

Schools shut in hazardous weather

Thousands of school children were given a second 'snow day' off school as sub-zero temperatures and blizzards prompt treacherous travel conditions.

Heavy snowfall saw hundreds of schools across the UK close completely, while others were forced to open at later times.

In Aberdeenshire, 117 schools closed and 30 were affected by travel chaos, leaving just 28 fully open.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council told Channel 4 News: "It's incredible; I've never seen whiteout conditions like it."

Read more UK snow: schools shut in hazardous weather.
UK snow has spread to the south East of England (Reuters)

Plummeting temperatures

Temperatures in the north-west Highlands dropped to minus 15C last night, with the Met Office warning the mercury will barely rise above 0C for the rest of the day.

Met Office forecaster Tom Morgan said: “Overnight, we’ve had some outbreaks of snow and a lot of the country has seen some snow showers with accumulations of 2.5 inches in the South East and East of England.

“Temperatures today are going to be very cold and we’re looking at 1C to 2C with a very strong north-easterly wind.

“In towns or cities, we’re looking at minus 2C to minus 4C tonight, dropping to minus 6C or minus 8C in less sheltered parts.

“The worst-affected areas in England will be eastern parts of the country and perhaps Kent and Essex and the North East.

“In terms of this week, the cold spell is going to continue but will be less widespread as we go through the week.