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  1. ITV Report

Severe weather warning upgraded as heavy snow, 70mph winds and icy conditions ahead

  • Video report by ITV News Scotland Correspondent Peter Smith

Police have warned people not to travel in parts of the UK after heavy snow and ice caused treacherous driving conditions and left hundreds of motorists stranded.

The Met Office has issued a fresh amber "be prepared" warning of heavy snow for southern Scotland and northern England on Wednesday into Thursday.

Gusts of up to 70mph could also hit in north west England and Wales from 12.05am, before moving across parts of Lincolnshire and East Anglia early on Thursday morning, the Met Office said.

Scotland's transport minister Humza Yousaf told MSPs at Holyrood that Police Scotland have responded to the fresh weather alert by upgrading their travel warning from stage three to stage four.

He said: "That in practice means that all travel should be avoided on those parts of the trunk road affected by the amber warning, namely south and south-west Scotland for the duration of the amber warning."

A driver helps a motorist in Sheffield. Credit: PA

The Met Office warns that from three to eight centimetres of fresh snow is likely to accumulate widely, with up to 20cm over high ground.

The amber warning, running from 9pm on Wednesday until 5am on Thursday, warns that travel disruption is likely with a risk that some vehicles may be stranded.

Yellow "be aware" warnings of snow and ice for much of the country are valid until Friday.

Parked cars are covered in snow near Edinburgh. Credit: PA

On Tuesday night, the M74 in Scotland was brought to a standstill due to heavy snow stranding 200 motorists in 12-mile tailbacks.

Dozens of schools have been closed in parts of Scotland and public transport has been disrupted by the weather.

All prelim exams scheduled to take place in North Lanarkshire secondary schools on Thursday have also been postponed.

Public Health England issued cold weather alerts and health warnings in light of the cold weather, urging people to take extra care.