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UK weather: Motorists warned of ‘Black Ice Monday’ havoc – latest news and travel updates

Motorists are being warned of havoc on Britain’s roads on what has been dubbed Black Ice Monday, as snow turns into ice following a weekend wintry blast.

Hundreds of schools are closed at the start of the working week following a cold night that saw temperatures drop as low as -11.6C (11F) in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland.

A chilly day is forecast – a yellow warning for ice is in place for most of Wales and central parts of England – while on Monday night, temperatures could drop as low as -15C (5F). More than a foot of snow fell in Sennybridge, in Wales, which saw 12.5 inches (32cm) on Sunday.

The cold weather has brought disruption to flights, with dozens cancelled at Heathrow, and poor weather conditions are also affecting train services on Monday.

The RAC said journeys by road would take up to three times longer than usual, as it warned of “treacherous” driving conditions. Snow caused transport chaos on Sunday, as the severe weather led to multiple crashes and stranded hundreds of cars on one of Britain’s busiest motorways.

Lorries and cars queue as motorists begin to get stuck in the snow on the A417 outside Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Credit:
Stephen Shepherd/LNP 

Western Power Distribution said engineers worked through the night as they aimed to restore power to 10,000 home in the Midlands, South Wales and South West. 

SSE said they restored power to 48,000 customers on Sunday and that 2,900 remained without power on Sunday night.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “It was chilly in Chillingham Barnes, but it wasn’t the coldest night of 2017 – that was Saturday night when temperatures went down to -12.4C.

“We could well beat that tonight and could go as low as -12C and even -15C.”

Latest travel: Roads, trains and flights affected

Disruption from the wintry weather is continuing on Monday after difficult conditions on Sunday, with roads, trains and planes all affected.

Airports

Dozens of flights are showing as cancelled at Heathrow – with the airport saying the disruption is “due to crew and aircraft being out of position”.

British Airways said it has reduced its flight schedule from Heathrow due to the forecast of continued bad weather. Passengers are being advised to check the flight status before they travel to the airport.

Seven flights have been cancelled at Edinburgh airport, while Manchester airport had 13 departures listed as cancelled on Monday morning.

Trains

National Rail said poor weather conditions are affecting travel across England and Wales. Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western, and Virgin Trains will all be affected, while East Midlands Trains customers are being advised to check their trains are running before setting off.

Transport for London said there was a good service on the network, but warned that some services may be affected later. 

Roads

Police said lane three on the M42 in the West Midlands, between junctions 1 and 3, and lane three on the M5 between junction 4a and junction 3, were impassable on Monday morning, with only lanes one and two running on both motorways.

The slip road to Stansted airport on the M11 eastbound was closed overnight for carriageway treatment due to freezing temperatures, according to Highways England.

Hundreds of schools closed in freezing conditions

As a result of the snow and freezing conditions, Birmingham City Council has been forced to cancel all council-run school and related transport services on Monday, the authority said.

More than 200 schools will be closed in Gloucestershire, and more than 100 in Shropshire.

In Wales, 71 schools are closed in Flintshire, 11 in Wrexham and 49 in Denbighshire.

An abandoned car on the roadside in the Peak District after heavy snowfall

Credit:
Danny Lawson /PA

RAC expecting 11,000 breakdowns

Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said they are expecting 11,000 breakdowns on what has been dubbed Black Ice Monday, a figure which is 20 per cent above the seasonal norm.

“I think the big thing is people are not going to leave enough time,” he said.

“Journeys will take two to three times longer. It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions.”

Mr Williams said low overnight temperatures could cause black ice and urged people to drive slowly, leaving plenty of space between them and the car in front.

Highway officials blame ‘lack of cars’ for chaos

Traffic was brought to a standstill on the M40 in Warwickshire, with motorists complaining that they had not seen any gritters, and that the road had been left covered in dangerous ice and slush.

Driver Carl Palmer said the motorway looked “like a war-zone, with crashed cars everywhere, others spinning around”, while motorist Rebecca Matthews said the situation was “shambolic” with people forced to get out and push their cars up slip-roads.

A car that had spun out of control in Buckinghamshire on Sunday amid road chaos

Credit:
Ben Cawthra/LNP

However, Highways England claimed it had eight gritters patrolling the road continually but said there had not been enough cars in the morning to adequately spread rock salt across the road.

“There was a lot of snow, and the action of the salt relies on traffic, and it was a Sunday and the emergency services were telling people not drive, so there were not enough cars for it to be effective,” said a spokesman.

Weather forecast for today – and the week ahead

 What have your travel experiences been during the snow? Join the debate by leaving a comment below.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/11/uk-weather-motorists-warned-black-ice-monday-havoc-latest/

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