UK braced for 'nasty' conditions as snow and ice forecast

Sub-zero temperatures and snow are expected to hit large parts of the UK.

Met Office forecaster Charles Powell said: "It is a band of severe weather. Weather warnings are in force. There is going to be disruption in some shape or form."

With an amber warning of snow in West Yorkshire, the South Pennines and places such as Rochdale and Burnley, and overnight temperatures of minus 3c or minus 4C forecast, there could be some "pretty nasty travel conditions", he said.

It will be "cold by day and cold by night", with the heaviest snowfall of 5cm-10cm in parts of northern England and up to 15cm over higher ground.

Highways England said its gritting teams are working around the clock on routes including the M61, M65, M66, M6 north of junction 36, M62 between junctions 21 and 23, and the M60 between junctions 15 and 24, as well as the A69, A66 Old Spital and A628 Woodhead Pass.

Chris Chadwick, emergency planning officer at Highways England, urged people to "plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel if they really need to travel".

The amber warning is in place between 4am and 11am on Friday and a wider yellow warning for snow has been issued for southern and eastern Scotland, northern England and the Midlands.

The possibility of rain falling on previously frozen surfaces has seen a yellow warning for ice in the East Midlands, East of England, London and south-east England, north-west England, south-west England, Wales and the West Midlands.

Northern Ireland also has a country-wide yellow warning for ice and snow from midnight until 9am.

The Met Office said temperatures fell to as low as minus 4.5C (24F) in Katesbridge, Co Down, in the early hours of Thursday while most parts of the UK hovered around 0C (32F).

The RAC said ice had caused an "incredibly busy" morning, and they dealt with a number of battery failures, minor bumps and shunts, and skidding.

Meanwhile the AA described the country's roads on Thursday as "appalling" due to the "dicey icy roads".

It followed stories of disruption, cancellations and delays at the country's travel terminals on Wednesday due to the weather, with Stansted temporarily closing its runway twice due to ice.

As a result, 27 inbound and 27 outbound flights were cancelled at Stansted, while around 50 flights were cancelled at Luton.

Some 300 passengers were left in the terminal at Stansted waiting to rebook flights on Wednesday evening after dozens of Ryanair services were cancelled, along with a number of easyJet flights.

On Wednesday snowfall caused widespread disruption, with a lorry crash on the M1 resulting in the closure of the southbound carriageway, a jackknifed HGV on the M5 in Gloucestershire, and severe conditions on the A14 near Kettering.

Homes were left without power, and in Scotland three climbers had to be rescued from the Cairngorms mountain range after getting lost in blizzard conditions.

The RAC said it expects to attend "in the region of one breakdown every 10 seconds through the course of Friday".

The organisation's traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: "Some northern regions are set to see further snowfall in the early hours, making driving conditions very difficult if not impossible where the heaviest snowfall occurs.

"Drivers in the areas likely to be affected should consider delaying their journeys if they are not absolutely essential, as some disruption is likely."

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