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Temperatures plummet to -13C on coldest night of year

Many areas are still covered by snow and ice. Credit: PA

Commuters faced another treacherous journey on Tuesday morning after Britain had its coldest night of the year.

Clear skies overnight saw temperatures plummet and vast swathes of the country fell below freezing, with the lowest temperature in Shawbury, north east of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, where -13C (8.6F) was recorded.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice were in place until 11am on Tuesday, covering large parts of the country, including London and the South East, much of the Midlands, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the eastern coast of England and parts of Scotland.

Many schools in the South West, West Midlands and Wales remained closed for a second day on Tuesday.

Nearly 80 schools were listed as closed in Staffordshire, while Gloucestershire - which saw around 200 schools closed on Monday - had 80 schools closed on Tuesday, and more than 90 were closed in neighbouring Herefordshire.

Pupils at 123 primary schools and 25 secondary schools in Shropshire also had a second day off owing to the weather, while in Wales hundreds of schools were shut on Tuesday, with Caerphilly and Powys particularly affected.

Schools are expected to remain closed in places.

In parts of Gloucestershire, 36 homes were without power for a second night on Monday.

Western Power Distribution said the outage was caused by the weather and engineers were expecting to have the power restored by 7.30am on Tuesday.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle reported delays on Tuesday, with waits of up to three hours for "coaches, high vehicles and vehicles towing a trailer/caravan... We strongly recommend that you amend or cancel your trip today if travelling with one of these vehicles", the company said.

Rain and hill snow for Tuesday were also forecast in other parts of the country.

The poor weather conditions caused widespread disruption on Monday, including delaying flights at Heathrow, where passengers have complained of waiting hours for travel to be rescheduled.

Early on Tuesday, 16 departures from Heathrow were listed as cancelled, but the airport said the majority of flights would run as schedules during the rest of the day, but advised passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

Cancellations were also reported at Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports.

Clear skies overnight saw temperatures plummet. Credit: PA

National Rail did not report any major disruption to train journeys owing to the weather - but said services running to and from London Waterloo could be disrupted until 10am following a line-side fire on Monday.

Emergency services warned motorists to drive with caution, while the AA recorded its busiest day of the year on Monday with 24,000 callouts.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon predicted another "chilly night ahead but probably not quite as cold as last night.

"The front moving from the west hails some more milder temperatures.

"So in the South West, places like Bodmin, there could be 6C or 7C, so not freezing, but as we move further east London could go down to 2C.

"And as we go into areas where snow remains, like Birmingham, it is struggling to get above freezing today and could be minus 2C overnight.

"There's still a little bit of snow around so that could melt away or freeze again and there is rainfall coming in from the west, so where that falls on very cold roads that can form ice very quickly, providing treacherous driving conditions.

"It's a bit of a grey morning tomorrow morning and it will be falling as rain rather than snow, with the exception to that being in high areas of Scotland.

"We might see wintry showers at lower levels but nothing that's going to settle."

Former England striker Michael Owen was caught out by the weather on Sunday night, with snow-laden tree branches covering his Bentley.

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Kenton Keithly, 65, of Woodland, California, was stranded in Newcastle after his connecting flight to Heathrow was cancelled on Sunday and he had to wait until Tuesday to return to San Francisco.

He said: "Speaking with other passengers in the line last night, we all agreed that BA has learned nothing from seven years ago and Heathrow have failed to address the issue of having enough de-icers to cope with demand when needed.

"Britain obviously doesn't do well in winter. Everything breaks down."

On Monday a Heathrow spokesperson apologised for the disruption which they said was due to crew and aircraft being out of position following the wintry weather.

A car covered in snow and ice in Danbury, Essex. Credit: PA