Britons woke up to another icy morning today after temperatures plunged to -11C (12.2F) on England’s joint coldest night of the winter so far and forecasters issued a further 18-hour snow warning this weekend.
People travelling during the lockdown were warned to expect more ‘tricky’ conditions as ice and freezing fog brought further hazards one day after heavy snowfall caused major disruption in northern England and Scotland.
The Met Office put out an ice warning until 10am today for all of Scotland and most of England with the mercury plunging to -11.4C (11.5F) in the North Yorkshire village of Ravensworth in the early hours of this morning.
Forecasters said the rain, sleet and snow would be dying out, leaving icy surfaces and difficult travel conditions amid concerns of people falling over on slippery pavements and motorists skidding on untreated roads.
People across Britain awoke to a widespread frost and temperatures hovering around freezing this morning, with the mercury unlikely to get above 5C (41F) in London today before dropping back to 0C (32F) tonight.
Snow and black ice on the roads in Leeds this morning is causing hazardous conditions for people in West Yorkshire
Vehicles queue on the M61 southbound near Bolton in Greater Manchester this morning after a collision in the freezing fog
Nearly 200 areas of the country remain on flood watch as well, with the Environment Agency issuing 144 flood alerts and 43 more serious warnings for England – while Natural Resources Wales has put out two alerts.
A further 18-hour weather warning for snow and ice has been issued for most of Scotland and northern England tomorrow, from 3am until 9pm, with the Met Office warning up to 8in (20cm) could fall on higher routes.
An area of rain pushing eastwards will turn to snow, with forecasters warning of travel delays of roads with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel and a chance of power cuts.
The rain will turn to snow as it encounters colder air across Scotland and parts of northern and eastern England, and at first the main hazard may be rain falling onto frozen surfaces leading to ice.
Snow will become more likely during the early morning, with heavier snowfall most likely above 650ft (200m) in Scotland and northern England, where 2in (5cm) to 4in (10cm) may accumulate, possibly 8in (20cm) even higher.
At lower levels and further south, up to 2in (5cm) may accumulate in places, but the Met Office said situation was ‘finely balanced’, with the chance that most lower-lying areas, especially in the east, will see rain or sleet.
Much of yesterday’s snow in Leeds had frozen over by this morning bringing black ice on the roads for motorists
Icy conditions this morning on the M1 in West Yorkshire as motorists were warned to take extra care on the roads
Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: ‘Saturday is the next day we could potentially see some snow.
2020 was the second hottest year on record
Most of us didn’t manage a foreign holiday last year, but at least there was one consolation – it was the second hottest 12 months on record.
Global temperatures in 2020 were on average around 1.28C above those in the second half of the 19th century.
It was just a fraction of a degree below the record hottest year of 2016, when average temperatures were 1.29C above pre-industrial levels.
Under the international Paris Agreement, countries have pledged to limit warming to 2C above 1800s levels.
The analysis was carried out by the Met Office, University of East Anglia and the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science.
Dr Colin Morice, from the Met Office, said: ‘It is a sign of the continued impact of human-induced climate change.’
‘We may even see some temporary snow across parts of the South East, towards East Anglia but at the moment we’re not expecting to see the same amount of snowfall as we have had.’
Ms Mitchell continued: ‘Into next week it’s quite uncertain but it looks like temperatures will be around average to start with – so not particularly cold.
‘But, towards the end of the week there are signs we could potentially see further snowfall across northern parts of the country.’
It comes after up to 6in (15cm) of snow fell in the North of England yesterday, leading to picture postcard scenes but also crashes, skids and prangs.
A double decker bus slid across a road in Halifax, West Yorkshire, while a car ended up wrapped around a pole in nearby Outlane.
More than 600 schools had to close and the weather brought havoc to the Covid vaccination drive, with some centres forced to shut or postpone appointments.
But for some it was a chance for a little fun in the snow, with youngsters leaping on toboggans in Penicuik, Scotland. Flurries fell as far south as Suffolk.
South eastern areas too mild for snow were not spared, as heavy rain led to flooding. Rivers including the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire burst their banks.
Severe weather closed more than 600 schools which had stayed open for key workers’ children, mostly in West and South Yorkshire.
Staff at the Fenn Bell Inn in Hoo, Kent, battled to salvage furniture after it was flooded.
Connor Gordon, one of those trying to save the pub’s possessions, said: ‘The building is ruined, nearly a foot of water inside, it’s even deeper outside. The ditches are full and bursting, the roads are flooded and getting worse.’
The Met Office has issued weather warnings for ice this morning (left) and another for snow and ice tomorrow (right)
Elderly patients due to receive Covid jabs at Newcastle’s Centre for Life mass vaccination hub were advised to rebook their appointments to avoid the bad weather.
Hold your horses… lots more snow on the way
Heavy snow brought transport chaos yesterday but at least some had the horsepower to cope.
For Stephanie Anderson it was a chance for a gallop with Clydesdale horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.
The Clydesdales are working horses and help plough the land for her family’s market gardening business, and they are also used for events such as weddings.
On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire
The Newcastle NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust tweeted: ‘It’s easy to do by calling 119. No need to risk travelling in the bad weather.’
And all vaccinations at the Priory Campus in Barnsley had to be postponed from 3pm, with patients advised not to travel.
Snow caused problems for ambulance services in Yorkshire who struggled to keep up with the high demand.
Mark Millins, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, urged people to ‘take extra care’ when out walking or driving.
A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The highest accumulations of snow were in North East England, where 15cm (6in) was recorded at Copley, County Durham.’ He said snow was recorded as far south as Lakenheath and Marham, in Suffolk.
Main roads in Scotland yesterday were brought to a standstill, particularly in areas with an amber ‘be prepared’ weather warning. In Dunblane, Perthshire, one resident said the only traffic was sledges.
In Renfrewshire, drivers abandoned their cars after a number of accidents blocked local roads.
One motorist thanked locals on Church Road in Giffnock for bringing her tea following a dramatic three-car crash. She wrote on social media: ‘Don’t think I will see my car again.’
On the Stewarton Road, linking south Glasgow with Newton Mearns, cars were abandoned, while police used their vehicles to block off roads.
Train services between Glasgow and East Kilbride were suspended for a while after a vehicle crashed into a railway bridge in Busby.
Heavy snowfall blocked the A9 southbound at Dunblane, with traffic being diverted through the town. Those aged over 80 had been invited to get their Covid vaccination in the town’s Victoria Hall but many thought it unsafe to leave the house.
Twenty Perthshire primary schools and nurseries closed and were unable to accommodate the children of key workers.
One Dunblane resident said: ‘We feel we have been cut off. There’s almost a foot of snow here. The only traffic moving on our street are the sledges.’
Traffic Scotland warned drivers of ‘difficult driving conditions’ on the A82 between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. An accident on the M9 closed the Friarton Bridge, with traffic being diverted through Perth.
Yesterday: A recovery vehicle tries to recover cars off the A640 on Saddleworth Moor near Marsden in West Yorkshire
Yesterday: A row of cars are abandoned in Halifax after drivers became stuck in the snow falling over West Yorkshire
Yesterday: More than ten buses were stuck on Kirkstall Hill in Leeds, West Yorkshire, following heavy snowfall
Police Scotland’s road policing unit has warned against drivers travelling in the wintry weather.
Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: ‘Government restrictions on travelling remain in place across Scotland because of the ongoing pandemic.
‘People should not leave their homes unless for essential purposes and work from home where possible. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.
‘In the current wintry weather please consider if your journey is exempt under the regulations and also if it really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.’
Sunday should be mostly dry with isolated showers, but more snow could be on the way next week followed by a cold and unsettled remainder of the month.
However, those fearing a return of the Beast from the East – the Siberian weather system that brought heavy snow in February and March 2018 – can rest easy after the Met Office said it is unlikely to roar back in the coming weeks.