Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures are causing travel disruption as wintry weather dubbed the “Beast from the East” intensifies, as hundreds of schools have been forced to close.
Roads across the UK were covered in a blanketing of snow on Tuesday morning, with police forces reporting treacherous driving conditions and blocked routes.
Highways England said the M20 in Kent had become blocked by a “number” of stranded lorries overnight, while the A249 was shut due to a crash. Areas around Harrogate and Craven were also particularly treacherous, according to North Yorkshire Police.
The Met Office said several centimetres of snow had fallen in some parts over the night – with 1cm in Kent by 5am, and between 3cm and 4cm in Newcastle and Northumberland.
Heavy showers were expected to continue throughout the morning and cripple much of the country’s travel network. Trains have also been affected by the snowfall, with cancellations and disruptions on lines across the country.
Southeastern, which operates in Kent, has cancelled dozens of trains, including several to London St Pancras, London Victoria and Cannon Street, while other companies affected include Southern, Greater Anglia and Great Northern.
British Airways has cancelled several flights from Heathrow Airport, while easyJet warned disruption to its flights was expected. School closures were also likely.
Amber warnings for snow are in place for the South East and North East of England and the East Midlands until midday, while a yellow warning covering much of the country is in force until midnight.
Forecasters are predicting up to 10cm (4in) of snow will fall for most areas of the UK, with up to 40cm (15in) possible for higher grounds in Scotland.
Met Office meteorologist Emma Sillitoe said: “During the rush hour there will still be some really heavy showers around, making their way towards London.
“There will also be further disruption throughout the day as these showers become widespread across the country.”
How long will cold snap last?
Temperatures plummeted to minus 5C in the capital overnight and the mercury will struggle to get much above freezing during the day.
Conditions are not likely to improve for several days, with forecasters warning that snow will continue well into the week.
An amber snow warning is in place for the North East of England and Scotland from 6am on Wednesday to 12pm on Thursday, with up to 40cm (15in) of snow expected to fall during that period.
Forecaster Frank Saunders said parts of the country could see their “coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991”.
It is expected that the mercury could plummet to minus 15C by midweek where there is snow on the ground, rivalling temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.
Roads, rail and air travel – latest updates
Transport services have been hit by the snowfall overnight, with disruption on the roads, to flights and to trains.
Here are the latest reported issues:
Police forces across the UK have reported a number of crashes on the roads as driving conditions worsen.
The A249 in Kent has been shut due to a crash, between junction 7 for the M20 and junction 5 for the M2, while the A1231 in the North East was blocked by an overturned lorry near the A182.
North Yorkshire Police said snow and ice was affecting most of the roads in the area, with roads around Harrogate and Craven particularly treacherous. The A19 in North Yorkshire was closed after a crash.
North West Motorway Police reported that some lanes on motorways in the area were blocked due to the snow.
Lincolnshire Police tweeted that they were already dealing with five collisions by 6.30am on Tuesday morning and said roads were “particularly hazardous”.
Merseyside Police urged people to take care while driving, and said the force had received reports of a crash on the M62 just before junction 5.
And the North West Motorway Police tweeted that it was on the scene of a crash on the M6 eastbound at junction 5 after a car span across all three lanes and hit a tree.
According to Network Rail, several train companies are reporting cancellations and alterations to services on Tuesday.
Southeastern, which operates in Kent, has cancelled dozens of trains, including several to London St Pancras, London Victoria and Cannon Street.
Greater Anglia will also be running a limited service, with less frequent and slower services between Norwich and Ipswich and cities such as London and Cambridge, and no trains between Norwich and Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Great Yarmouth, among others.
Great Northern said fewer trains will be running between Kings Lynn and Cambridge during the morning peak, with services running hourly instead of half-hourly. Services between Kings Cross and Ely have been cancelled.
Southern will be running an hourly train service on the London Bridge to Uckfield line, with additional coaches, and a shuttle service between Redhill and Tonbridge.
TfL Rail will not start its trains until 7am on Tuesday, and only a limited service of six trains per hour will be in operation between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, while c2c is also operating a limited timetable.
Anger as trains cancelled
Many have expressed disappointment that their trains were pre-emptively cancelled by operators, arguing that they should have the ability to deal with snow.
Southeastern customers found it hard to check whether their service was running, as the site went down due to high demand.
Some passengers have pointed out that train are cancelled in areas where there is no snow. National Rail has responded that whether or not there is snow, cold temperatures mean ice forms on the electric rails, so it is difficult to give trains enough energy to run.
There were also reports of overcrowding at platforms and on trains as commuters struggled to get to work.
British Airways has cancelled dozens of flights from Heathrow Airport on Tuesday, while easyJet said it is expecting disruption to some of its flights and has advised customers to check before they travel.
East Midlands Airport said it was currently fully operational, but warned passengers to monitor updates throughout the day.
Weather maps for Tuesday and week ahead
Video: Latest Met Office weather forecast
Now Storm Emma due to hit Britain
From Thursday, forecasters predict that another weather system, Storm Emma, will bring blizzards, gales and sleet as it meets the chilly “Beast from the East” – freezing air blowing in from Russia – later this week.
The storm, named by the Portuguese Met Service, will move north through Europe and is due to hit the UK on Thursday and Friday.
It will be “significantly disruptive”, bringing the risk of power cuts and transport delays.
Freezing weather in Europe linked to soaring temperatures at North Pole
While Britain shivers in the “Beast from the East”, scientists say temperatures have risen above freezing repeatedly at the North Pole, reaching as high as 30C above normal for the depths of winter, reports Rob Crilly.
The cause is a “warm air intrusion” bringing mild and moist air. It is a common feature of Arctic weather systems but this year has been deeper and longer than normal, according to meteorologists.
The disturbance is responsible for displacing a blast of chilly Arctic air, sending it streaming over Europe.
And it could become more common as a result of man-made climate change, according to scientists, who took to social media to share their extraordinary data.
Irvine Zack Labe, a climate researcher at the University of California, tweeted on Sunday: “The extreme event continues to unfold in the high Arctic today in response to a surge of moisture and ‘warmth.'”
The Cape Morris Jesup meteorological site at the northern extreme of Greenland has seen a record-breaking 61 hours of temperatures above freezing so far in 2018, linked to a rare retreat of sea ice in the Arctic winter darkness.
“It’s never been this extreme,” said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute.
Train companies accused of reaping reward from cancellations
Britain’s largest rail operators are accused of benefiting from transport chaos by pocketing millions of pounds in compensation while passengers endure cancellations and delays, reports Steven Swinford.
Train companies are pocketing millions in compensation from travel chaos as swathes of Britain are hit by cancellations and delays caused by blizzards and sub-zero temperatures.
Britain’s biggest rail operators will run reduced services on Tuesday and Wednesday as up to 10cm of snow falls in parts of the country, with commuters on some of the country’s busiest lines facing severe disruption.
It comes amid mounting anger from Tory MPs and campaigners that rail companies will receive huge automatic compensation payments from Network Rail for disruption to their services while passengers are given far less.
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Snow day- over 100 schools are closed.
Heavy snow and freezing weather conditions have led to the closure of scores of schools.
These are some of the affected areas:
– Norfolk (36)
– North Yorkshire (29)
– Kent (131)
– Essex (14)
– East Sussex (62)
– Lancashire (27)
– West Yorkshire (22)
– Surrey (10)
– Staffordshire (4)
Stockpiling bread and staying in bed: how Britain is dealing with the Beast from the East
People have been posting their coping strategies on social media after snow blanketed the country and everyone started to anticipate the storm, which will hit later this week.
People have stockpiled tea
Shops have been running out of bread as people rush to stockpile
Some have been making the most of the snow
While others have stayed in bed
Fire and police services have been giving out advice
Share your own snow pictures or stories
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/27/uk-weather-snow-chaos-roads-blocked-trains-cancelled-latest/