Weather threat to transport users

Published: Sunday 28th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Britons will wake to a glistening blanket of ice this morning, as a record-breaking cold snap threatens further travel disruption.

Temperatures are expected to plunge to low of -10C (14F) overnight – the coldest it has been all year – 24 hours after snowfall affected travellers in parts of northern England, Scotland and the Midlands.

Rain showers due this morning will mean much of the snow will disappear, and motorists could instead be forced to reach for the de-icing kit and windscreen scraper.

Simon Partridge, forecaster with the Met Office, said: “Parts of the UK have had snow over the last day or so, and that picture will improve into Sunday.

“We will still have some showers around most coastal areas, which is likely to mean the snow will not settle. But those showers will likely be overnight, so the days themselves are going to be largely dry.

“But it is going to be very cold indeed, as low as 4 or 5C (41F) in the south and 2C in the north (35F).”

The town of Leek in Staffordshire recorded yesterday’s deepest snowfall – 12cm (4.7in) – while temperatures overnight are expected to reach -10C (14F) in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The Met Office has issued a new weather warning.

The freezing weather has brought treacherous conditions to roads, with many motorists in Sheffield forced to abandon their cars after becoming snowed in.

More than 100,000 homes were left with power shortages as heavy snow wreaked havoc on electricity cables.

A Western Power Distribution spokesman said 36,000 customers were left without power, and another 69,000 had short interruptions to supplies.

Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Leeds Bradford International were forced to close on Friday evening as snow was cleared from the runways, but have now reopened.

Many motorists found themselves marooned by heavy snow in Sheffield, Chesterfield and the Peak District.

A spokesman for the RAC said drivers in these areas were experiencing “big problems”.

Motorists have been advised to check routes before embarking on a journey and to avoid travelling in snow-hit areas if possible.

Police warned of hazardous conditions on Friday night, especially in Staffordshire and Cheshire, with several roads impassable.

The Met Office has issued amber warnings for snow, ice and wind across much of Britain.

The snow made conditions difficult for some of Friday’s football matches, including in the West Midlands as West Bromwich Albion lost 3-1 to Manchester City in a game played in a blizzard at The Hawthorns.

Newcastle United fans slept – and sang – on coaches after they got stuck overnight in snow heading back from their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

More than one supporters’ coach and some fans in cars made it as far as Birch Services on the M62 near Rochdale when the weather conditions made a trip across the Pennines impossible.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “As winter weather grips some areas of the country we would advise people intending to travel to check weather and local conditions before they set out.

“The Highways Agency and local highway authorities across the country are working hard to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

“Passengers travelling into or out of Kings Cross affected by overrunning engineering work should check with National Rail inquiries for service information.”

Published: Sunday 28th December 2014 by The News Editor

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