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UK weather: 24,000 left without power under the snow

British families returning from their Christmas holidays and commuters heading back to work were hit by travel chaos today as the country was blanketed by up to four inches of snow.

Some of Britain’s busiest motorways were closed, drivers faced dangerous conditions on many routes and thousands of homes were left without power after temperatures plunged to -5C (23F) overnight.  

Western Power Networks said more than 14,000 properties had been cut off while SSE had 10,000 customers without power – and passengers leaving London Luton Airport were facing an average delay of 80 minutes.

London City departures were facing an average delay of 40 minutes, while it was 50 minutes at Stansted this morning. The three London airports were the world’s most delayed airports as of 10.30am this morning.

Rail passengers across Britain faced disruption as services returned for many today, with problems reported around London, Oxford and Edinburgh. Conditions will be even colder tonight as temperatures fall to -8C (18F). 

A gritter uses a snow plough to clear lane 3 of the M1 northbound near junction 20, near Lutterworth in Leicestershire today

A Blue Air flight comes into land at London Luton Airport this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

A Blue Air flight comes into land at London Luton Airport this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

Northamptonshire Police attended this road traffic collision on the M1, saying the road had 'quickly become treacherous'

Northamptonshire Police attended this road traffic collision on the M1, saying the road had ‘quickly become treacherous’

Olivia Potter and her brother Joshua, both five, throw snowballs while having fun at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol

Olivia Potter and her brother Joshua, both five, throw snowballs while having fun at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol

Queues on the A14 near Kettering in Northamptonshire this morning after the road was affected by multiple collisions

Queues on the A14 near Kettering in Northamptonshire this morning after the road was affected by multiple collisions

Thames Valley Police posted this image of officers attending to a crash after a car overturned in wintry conditions today

Thames Valley Police posted this image of officers attending to a crash after a car overturned in wintry conditions today

Police attend to a lorry after it jack-knifed on the M5 junction 11A in the early hours of this morning, causing travel chaos

Police attend to a lorry after it jack-knifed on the M5 junction 11A in the early hours of this morning, causing travel chaos

Snow covered cars on Waterloo Street in Birmingham this morning as flights from the city's airport could be affected

Snow covered cars on Waterloo Street in Birmingham this morning as flights from the city’s airport could be affected

There are problems on CrossCountry routes today with members of the RMT Union undertaking strike action, resulting in a significantly reduced service. More industrial action is scheduled on the operator for New Year’s Eve.

Problems today included an obstruction on the track at Peckham Rye in South London, a points issue in Oxford, signalling problems at Edinburgh Haymarket and an obstruction at Hatton in Warwickshire.

Meanwhile there was a tree blocking the line between Petersfield and Bedhampton in Hampshire, a points problem in Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside and a tracks circuit issue at Queenstown Road in South London. 

East Midlands Trains reported heavy snow between Market Harborough in Leicestershire and Kettering in Northamptonshire resulted in delays, while Highways England told of ‘severe conditions’ on the A14 near Kettering.

The southbound carriageway of the M1 was closed near Lutterworth in Leicestershire after an accident involving a lorry, while another HGV jack-knifed in heavy snow on the M5 in Gloucestershire.  

A third lorry jack-knifed on the snow-hit A34 northbound at Chilton in Oxfordshire, while police said two lanes of the M4 Bristol-bound carriageway were shut at Hungerford in Berkshire because of ‘an accident and snow’.

Police also said traffic was very slow due to a two-vehicle accident on the A617 between M1 junction 29 and the A6175 for Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for snow, ice and rain across vast swathes of Britain today

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for snow, ice and rain across vast swathes of Britain today

The Met Office tweeted a picture of snow cover across Britain, with the white stuff clearly covering parts of southern England

The Met Office tweeted a picture of snow cover across Britain, with the white stuff clearly covering parts of southern England

A woman sees her Union Jack umbrella turned inside out by the wet and windy conditions in London this morning

A woman sees her Union Jack umbrella turned inside out by the wet and windy conditions in London this morning

Pedestrians struggle with the freezing rain and blustery conditions on Westminster Bridge in London today

Pedestrians struggle with the freezing rain and blustery conditions on Westminster Bridge in London today

Two vehicles were involved in a smash which closed the A30 eastbound carriageway in Cornwall, leaving an ambulance on its side. Firefighters said three people were released before they arrived at the scene.

To add to the chaos, the A30 near St Erth, Cornwall, was closed in both directions this morning because of fears that a shopping centre roof could be blown off in the snowstorms and wintry gales.

Police in Northamptonshire say severe weather conditions are affecting the A14 in both directions between the M6/M1 and J3. They are asking drivers to avoid the route and only travel if the journey is essential.

Police forces used social media to warn motorists of the possible dangers of adverse weather on the country’s road network, with many people travelling on Boxing Day ahead of their return to work today. 

Strong winds were also recorded in parts of the south west overnight, with gusts of up to 50mph blowing across Cornwall. The weather also delayed waste and recycling collections in the Cotswolds. 

Passengers leaving Stansted Airport were left waiting as the runway was closed temporarily to allow safety checks to be carried out. 

Motorists have been stuck in tailbacks from the A14 slip road off the M1 junction 19 after snow and ice caused traffic problems

Motorists have been stuck in tailbacks from the A14 slip road off the M1 junction 19 after snow and ice caused traffic problems

Lorries have been stuck between junction one and two of the A14 after overnight snow caused travel disruptions in Britain

Lorries have been stuck between junction one and two of the A14 after overnight snow caused travel disruptions in Britain

Passengers leaving Stansted Airport were left waiting as the runway was closed to allow safety checks to be carried out

Passengers leaving Stansted Airport were left waiting as the runway was closed to allow safety checks to be carried out

Lorries became stuck between junctions one and two of the A14 near Rugby in Warwickshire after overnight snow

Lorries became stuck between junctions one and two of the A14 near Rugby in Warwickshire after overnight snow

Joggers make their way through the hills of the Scottish Borders which has been hit by  snow and temperatures as low as -5C

Joggers make their way through the hills of the Scottish Borders which has been hit by snow and temperatures as low as -5C

A chilled lorry became stuck between junctions one and two of the A14 near Rugby overnight after heavy snow

A chilled lorry became stuck between junctions one and two of the A14 near Rugby overnight after heavy snow

The Scottish Borders have been turned into a winter wonderland after the low temperatures and overnight snowfall

The Scottish Borders have been turned into a winter wonderland after the low temperatures and overnight snowfall

Surrey Police posted this picture on Twitter, telling followers: 'Please be careful on the roads if you're heading back to work'

Surrey Police posted this picture on Twitter, telling followers: ‘Please be careful on the roads if you’re heading back to work’

Residents of Rednal in Birmingham are greeted by snow this morning, as some people return to work a day after Boxing Day 

Residents of Rednal in Birmingham are greeted by snow this morning, as some people return to work a day after Boxing Day 

Elsewhere, travellers at Luton Airport were also warned to expect possible delays due to sleet and snow, with reported delays of over two hours while crews de-iced their plane.

A Luton spokesman said: ‘Sleet and snow is forecast until 2pm. Passengers are advised to monitor traffic and travel updates before setting off for the airport and to regularly check with your airline for the status of your flight.’

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain and snow for the Midlands, London and the South East, the North West, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber that will remain in place until 11am. 

Forecasters said up to 25mm (1in) of rain is expected widely with some places receiving up to 50mm (2in). Snow is expected to settle mainly above 300ft (100m) with 2cm (0.8in) for most, but up to 10cm (4in) in a few places.

A separate warning for ice has been issued for Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East in England and the Highlands, Grampian, Lothian Borders, Strathclyde and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.

As of 10am, the Environment Agency had 14 warnings in place where flooding is expected and immediate action is required, with more than 100 alerts where flooding is possible and people should be prepared.   

Residents of Rednal, Birmingham, are greeted by snow today as a white blanket covers parts of the country

Residents of Rednal, Birmingham, are greeted by snow today as a white blanket covers parts of the country

An easyJet plane is de-iced at London Luton Airport this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

An easyJet plane is de-iced at London Luton Airport this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

Chloe Davies (right), eight, and her sister Holly, 11, enjoy a sledge ride at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol today

Chloe Davies (right), eight, and her sister Holly, 11, enjoy a sledge ride at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol today

Homes in Rednal, Birmingham, are covered in snow this morning as parts of Britain are hit by a wintry blanket

Homes in Rednal, Birmingham, are covered in snow this morning as parts of Britain are hit by a wintry blanket

A squirrel plays in the snow in Bristol this morning as parts of the UK wake up to snowfall

A squirrel plays in the snow in Bristol this morning as parts of the UK wake up to snowfall

Two cyclists brave the freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions in the Peak District National Park today

Two cyclists brave the freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions in the Peak District National Park today

The snow-covered Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol this morning as parts of the UK wake up to snowfall

The snow-covered Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol this morning as parts of the UK wake up to snowfall

Snow covered Clifton in Bristol on Wednesday morning as motorists are warned of dangerous conditions on Britain's roads

Snow covered Clifton in Bristol on Wednesday morning as motorists are warned of dangerous conditions on Britain’s roads

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said: ‘We have had some quickly changing weather overnight with a band of heavy rain and hill snow that started in the south west and is gradually moving north and eastwards.

‘That’s crossed Wales and is just lying over central southern England and it has brought some snow with it.’

Up to 7cm (2.8in) of snow was recorded to have fallen over Exmoor, South Wales and the Cotswolds overnight, while other areas also saw flurries.

‘We have had a number of reports of areas affected; it shut part of the M5 just south of Bristol because lorries could not get uphill,’ Mr Partridge said.

‘There has also been come power cuts reported and road traffic accidents as well, although these have been more to do with surface water.’

Strong winds were also recorded in parts of the south west overnight, with gusts of up to 50mph blowing across Cornwall. The weather also delayed waste and recycling collections in the Cotswolds. 

Cars were covered in snow in Bristol this morning as the Met Office issued severe weather warnings for swathes of the UK

Cars were covered in snow in Bristol this morning as the Met Office issued severe weather warnings for swathes of the UK

Snow falling at Aldershot train station in Hampshire this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

Snow falling at Aldershot train station in Hampshire this morning after wintry weather swept across the country

Police attend to a road accident after a vehicle flipped over in heavy snow on the M5 in Gloucestershire today

Police attend to a road accident after a vehicle flipped over in heavy snow on the M5 in Gloucestershire today

Thousands of Brits woke up to snow this morning (pictured, Birmingham) and Western Power Networks said more than 14,000 properties had been cut off

Thousands of Brits woke up to snow this morning (pictured, Birmingham) and Western Power Networks said more than 14,000 properties had been cut off

A couple walk beneath an umbrella along New Street during heavy snowfall in Birmingham city centre this morning

A couple walk beneath an umbrella along New Street during heavy snowfall in Birmingham city centre this morning

Cars were covered in snow in Leicester this morning and motorists have been warned of dangerous conditions on the roads

Cars were covered in snow in Leicester this morning and motorists have been warned of dangerous conditions on the roads

Snow was falling in Birmingham this morning and passengers at the airport have been warned their flights could be affected

Snow was falling in Birmingham this morning and passengers at the airport have been warned their flights could be affected

Snow surrounds the Jewellery Quarter clock in Hockley, Birmingham, as parts of the city are covered with the white stuff

Snow surrounds the Jewellery Quarter clock in Hockley, Birmingham, as parts of the city are covered with the white stuff

Birmingham had hours of rain before the snow this morning which has caused hazardous driving conditions

Birmingham had hours of rain before the snow this morning which has caused hazardous driving conditions

Heavy snow has hit Birmingham this morning and passengers at the city's airport could face delays because of the weather 

Heavy snow has hit Birmingham this morning and passengers at the city’s airport could face delays because of the weather 

The band of rain and snow is not expected to clear the mainland until around 7pm today, although showers are expected to become lighter and patchy as the day progresses.

Dry, bright and breezy conditions will follow, with some wintry showers affecting the west and north of Wales and Northern Ireland.

Temperatures are expected to peak around 6C (43F) in the South West, although many places will only reach 3C (37F) or 4C (39F).

Places where snow has accumulated overnight will struggle to tip over 0C (32F), while those areas could see temperatures dip back down to -8C (18F) overnight tonight.

Tomorrow will generally be drier and day with slightly less wind, although it will remain cold. Wet and windy weather is expected to return for the weekend, raising the risk of some flooding, Mr Partridge said. 

The latest snowfall to hit the UK comes around a fortnight after hundreds of schools were closed, homes were left without power, and travellers were stranded or forced to stay indoors when a deep freeze gripped the UK. 



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