'Treacherous' conditions as snow leaves thousands without power

Heavy snow has hit parts of the UK, leaving thousands of people without power and causing dangerous driving conditions.

The southbound carriageway of the M1 near Lutterworth in Leicestershire was closed after an accident involving a lorry, with Highways England reporting "severe conditions" on the A14 near Kettering, while another HGV jack-knifed in heavy snow on the M5 in Gloucestershire.

The runway at Stansted Airport was closed briefly because of snow and passengers travelling from Luton Airport and Birmingham Airport have been warned about potential disruption.

East Midlands Trains reported heavy snow between Market Harborough and Kettering resulting in delays.

Police forces used social media to warn motorists of the possible dangers of adverse weather on the country's road network.

The A14 in Northamptonshire was at a standstill. Credit: ITV News
Police warned the M1 had become 'treacherous'. Credit: Northants RAPT

Western Power Distribution said more than 13,000 homes remained without power, the majority of those affected being in the West Midlands area, although properties in the East Midlands, the South West of England and Wales were also caught up in the outage.

Drivers in the East Midlands were left at a standstill for several hours after snow and ice caused traffic problems on the A14 in both directions. Highways England urged drivers to avoid the road, saying there were severe conditions in both directions between the M6/M1 and junction three, making it "impassable" in various locations.

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

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.

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."

The Met Office 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.

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 and 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.