Home / NEWS / UK weather: Hundreds of drivers stuck in cars for up to 11 hours overnight after Scotland hit by more than a foot of snow

UK weather: Hundreds of drivers stuck in cars for up to 11 hours overnight after Scotland hit by more than a foot of snow

More than 200 motorists and lorry drivers were stranded in their vehicles overnight after heavy snow and ice brought treacherous driving conditions to Scotland.

Mountain rescue teams were drafted in to help motorists stuck in their vehicles for up to 11 hours on the M74 after a snowstorm into the early hours of Wednesday.

More than a foot (36cm) of snow was recorded in Eskdalemuir, Glenanne in Co Armagh had 9in (23cm), while Tulloch Bridge in Inverness saw (8.2in) 21cm of snow overnight, with temperatures as low as -4C. Elsewhere across England and Wales, the mercury did not widely reach above 2C.

Police Scotland closed parts of the M74 in Lanarkshire in both directions due to wintry conditions for several hours overnight – with tailbacks stretching 12 miles southbound and seven miles northbound at one stage.

As gritters were forced to work around several jack-knifed lorries, drivers described how the impatience of some other motorists was making conditions worse as they were losing control of their vehicles.

A Met Office amber warning for snow and ice for south-west Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland was in force until 8am on Wednesday.

Large parts of England and Wales are also covered by less severe yellow warnings for snow and ice. They warn of snow and ice for Wednesday, as well as snow and strong winds in some parts until the end of the week.

‘It’s grim. Might be here all night’: Drivers share pictures from motorway ‘turned into car park’

Throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, both carriageways of the M74 in Scotland were closed several times as the blizzard conditions worsened.

Several drivers reported being stuck on the motorway for up to 11 hours, as the authorities tried to clear the heavy snow.

The worst problems were around junction 12 of the M74 in South Lanarkshire southbound and between junctions 14 and 15 northbound. 

By 6am, the authorities had opened at least one lane in both directions but it was expected to take several hours to clear the backlog of vehicles trapped by the weather.

Many of those stuck in vehicles posted pictures on social media of how the motorway had been “turned into a car park”.

Jacques Oeuf, who was stuck on the M74, described scenes of “utter mayhem” as the carriageway was “strewn with jackknifed lorries and stranded cars”. 

Sharing pictures, he wrote on Twitter at 9pm on Tuesday: “It’s grim. Might be here all night.” Shortly before 8am, he posted a video of the moment he managed to leave the motorway queues behind.

Vehicles battle through treacherous conditions on the M74

Credit:
JacquesOeuf /Twitter

Many lorries jack-knifed on the M74, causing more problems for motorists

Credit:
JacquesOeuf/Twitter

Posting this picture on Twitter, Jacques Oeuf wrote: “Free parking on the M74 southbound. Been here two hours and haven’t had a ticket!”

Credit:
Jacques Oeuf/Twitter

Other drivers took a more light-hearted approach to the motoring chaos.

Impatient drivers ‘made conditions worse’

Drivers who were too impatient to wait in queues on the M74 have been blamed for making conditions worse.

Fergus McCann, one of hundreds of motorists stuck on the motorway, said some were then losing control of their vehicles.

“There’s been a fair bit of impatient driving going on,” he told the BBC. “People are in one queue, then people are cutting out and trying to go down lanes that clearly are not for driving on.

“It’s not a surprise that you’re getting a few hundred yards down the road and you’re seeing them facing the wrong way.”

Gritters out across Britain: Pictures from around snow-hit areas of UK

A gritter in snowy conditions near Snowden Hill in Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Credit:
Danny Lawson /PA

A car off the road in snowy conditions near Snowden Hill in Sheffield

Credit:
Danny Lawson /PA

Wintry scenes in Shawlands on the southside of Glasgow early on Wednesday

Credit:
Lucinda Cameron /PA

A man walks in snowy conditions in Oxspring, near Barnsley

Credit:
Danny Lawson /PA

Heavy snow in Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire

Credit:
Cat Perkinton/SWNS

Snow in Moffat, Scotland, overnight

Credit:
Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team/Facebook

Snowfall in Edinburgh on Tuesday night

Credit:
Pep Masip/Alamy Live News

A plane landing in windy conditions at Leeds Bradford Airport on Wednesday

Credit:
Charlotte Graham 

Police declare critical incident after ‘very difficult night’

​Police declared a critical incident as they dealt with the situation and said that more than 200 people were stranded.

Transport Scotland said the M74 was open in both directions on Wednesday morning, but that conditions remain challenging after a “very difficult night”.

A spokesman said: “Sustained wintry conditions have been experienced overnight, particularly on the M74 between J12 and J15.

“Various incidents have occurred, often relating to HGVs losing traction on steep gradients.

“Wintry conditions remain and all available gritting resources are patrolling and treating the network as appropriate.”

Junctions 9 to 12 southbound and junctions 16 to 13 northbound had been particularly affected with drivers becoming stuck on the road due to the “challenging conditions”.

Police Scotland said that travel conditions this morning remain “extremely poor” and emergency services have been working overnight to resolve the situation.

The force said: “Partner agencies have been working together to ensure that welfare support is provided to road users who have been stuck on the M74.

“Officers from Police Scotland are urging motorists to avoid the area. If your journey is not essential, please avoid this particular area of the M74. Further updates will be provided.”

Mountain rescuers join efforts to clear road

Moffat Mountain Rescue assisted the operation to get the road clear by walking on the motorway and visiting drivers stuck in the tailbacks.

On Facebook, the team posted: “We appreciate lots of people have been stuck for a number of hours however we now appear to be over the worst of the snow.

“Traffic is now flowing northbound, albeit slowly, and we have a few hours ahead where we don’t expect any more snow fall.”

Schools closed after heavy snowfall

All schools in the Borders are closed due to the weather while 16 secondary schools, 58 primaries and 44 nurseries in the Highlands are shut.

Around 20 schools in Dumfries and Galloway and 28 schools and nurseries in South Lanarkshire are also closed.

In a tweet, Borders Council said the decision had been taken in the interests of the safety of pupils, staff, parents and carers.

Up to a foot of snow fell in parts of Scotland

Credit:
Dumfries & Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team/Facebook

Snow overnight in Scotland left many drivers battling treacherous conditions, such as on the A76

Credit:
Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team/Facebook

Rescue crews involved in helping drivers stuck in wintry conditions

Credit:
Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team/Facebook

It added: “The council has considered all options in making this decision, and has taken it in conjunction with advice from partners, including Police Scotland.”

Across Scotland on Tuesday, more than 100 schools and nurseries were shut and more than 10,000 pupils missed classes.

More snow and ice on the way?

The Met Office has issued amber “be prepared” warnings of snow and ice for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland until 8am.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “There have been plenty of heavy snow showers, particularly across Scotland.

“It’s pretty bleak out there in some places. A good chunk of the UK is effectively covered by snow and ice warning this morning.”

Looking ahead for Wednesday, he added: “It is going to be quite windy as low pressure pushes through tonight and that could bring some snow across parts of Scotland and in particular northern England.”

Forecasters warned the winds could reach 70mph across northern England and Wales on Wednesday evening – and potentially could be another named storm.

Mr Burkill added: “Once that clears out, we will return to frequent showers pushing in from the north west through Thursday and Friday.”

Forecast for Wednesday and the week ahead

Forecasters warned the winds could reach 70mph across northern England and Wales on Wednesday evening – and potentially could be another named storm.

Mr Burkill added: “Once that clears out, we will return to frequent showers pushing in from the north west through Thursday and Friday.”

Yellow snow and ice warnings are also in place for northern England and Northern Ireland and much of Wales.

Advice for driving in snow

Police Scotland warned there is a high risk of disruption for journeys and said drivers of HGVs should drive with extreme caution.

“Winter driving is a question of common sense and drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor,” police said in a statement.

“If you are travelling on the roads, you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours,” officers added.

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/17/commuters-warned-snow-ice-mountain-rescuers-called-save-stranded/

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