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  1. ITV Report

Cars battle 'virtually impassable' roads as 17cm snow recorded

  • Video report by ITV News West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

Commuters are enduring slow journeys home on Friday evening as the Met Office predicts another freezing night is ahead for parts of the country.

Snowfall has paralysed transport connections across parts of the UK, with stretches of the M3 declared "virtually impassable".

RAF Odiham in Hampshire has recorded 17cm of snow, the Met Office said, and snow warnings for the area are currently in force.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled during the day, while trains are running on amended timetables and people were warned not to make non-essential journeys on the roads.

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

Bristol Airport was one of the connections hit by the worst disruption.

All flights, bar one, were cancelled by mid-afternoon as the airport struggled to keep its runway clear.

While planes was grounded and train services were affected, some found enjoyable ways to travel through the snow. Credit: PA

It is, however, hoped the airport will operate as normal on Saturday.

The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for ice in the south of England, the Welsh valleys and western Wales, the east coast of England and southern Scotland.

Cars stuck in the snow in Cornwall as a man struggles up Gold Hill in the Dorset town of Shaftesbury. Credit: PA

Northern Ireland and the upper reaches of Scotland can expect snow and ice.

Lows of -12C are expected in parts of the British Isles on Friday night.

Snow surrounds Corfe Castle in Dorset. The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for much of England and Wales, parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are also set for wintry weather. Credit: PA

Forecasters predict the worst conditions will be felt in northern parts of Scotland.

On Thursday night, -15.4C was recorded in Braemar in the Highlands.

  • Motorists stranded overnight
Drivers have found themselves struggling to keep on the move in the snowy conditions. Credit: PA

Teams worked through the night to rescue motorists on snow-covered roads in Devon and Cornwall. Those caught out were forced to take shelter where they could.

More than 100 motorists sought overnight refuge at the Jamaica Inn in Bodmin after they found themselves stranded.

On Friday morning, Geoff Brown, portfolio holder for transport at Cornwall Council, said it had been a challenging night, despite plenty of advance warning of the poor weather.

"One of the biggest problems we encountered was that people abandoned their cars, which blocked the way for the emergency services and the gritters to get through," he said.

"This caused considerable delays in clearing the roads and left people stranded for longer than they should have been. We appreciate everyone wants to get home, but the actions of a few impacted on many.

"If you are stuck, stay with your car and wait until the roads are cleared. If you are vulnerable and need help, call the emergency services."

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Bristol city council said all priority roads have been gritted and are open but side roads and pavements may remain difficult

Police forces across the country are warning motorists to consider if their journeys are necessary before heading out on Friday and be "extremely careful" if have to travel by road.

Thames Valley Police said it had stopped a driver whose view out of his vehicle was almost blocked by snow. The force stopped the car in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

Thames Valley Police posted the image of the snow-covered car on social media. Credit: Thames Valley Police

Posting on Facebook, officers said on social media the driver had claimed he could see "perfectly well", from the driver's seat.

  • Rail commuters face misery as routes altered

On the rail network, 16 operators reported they were having issues running trains. Southeastern and Transport for Wales said they had altered timetables to allow for the adverse conditions.

The South Western Railway said it is planning to run a normal timetable, but warned some services may need to be cancelled to allow for route clearing.

First Great Western said it was unable to run trains on part of the network in operates in Cornwall as a result of heavy snowfall.

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Meanwhile Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express were expected to run normally, although passengers have been urged to check before they travel in case the conditions impact services.

Transport for London advised passengers to check their service status before starting their journey.

There were hazardous conditions for drivers around Shaftesbury, Dorset after heavy snow. Credit: PA
  • Flights cancelled and delayed

Airports haven't missed out on being hit by the freezing weather.

Bournemouth Airport initially said its airfield was closed, but later reported on Twitter it has reopened, advising customers to contact their airline to confirm flight details.

Bristol Airport suspended flights initially until 12pm, later saying that disruption will continue all day. In a lunchtime tweet, it said the majority of flights have been cancelled for the rest of Friday.

At 3pm, just one flight due to depart for Dublin at around 7pm remained on the departure boards.

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Among those caught up the chaos were a group of Welsh rugby fans attempting to get to Paris for Friday night's first Six Nations match.

Cancellations out of Bristol and Cardiff left them stranded and reorganising travel plans ahead of the clash with France.

  • Ex-Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton

It was not just fans trying to make their way to Paris, former Wales and British Lions captain Sam Warburton was also stuck at the airport.

Warburton travelled down to London in order to get a Eurostar train to the French capital. Although, this was not a fool-proof plan as Eurostar also cancelled a number of services but he reached Paris for kick off.

The snow didn't freeze the supporters' spirits though, with the fans filmed singing at Bristol airport as they waited for their flights.

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Cardiff Airport said it was operating a normal service - but warned of delays to some flights due to the adverse weather. It also advised people to give themselves extra time to get to the the airport.

London's airports were, for the most part, unaffected by the snow.

British Airways amended a few early short-haul departures from Heathrow but the airport said on social media that it was operating at normal service.

Gatwick Airport saw flurries of snow but operated a normal service, with very minor delays on some routes.

Classes have been cancelled at Furze Platt senior school, Maidenhead, after snowfall overnight. Credit: PA
  • More than 1,000 schools closed as playgrounds turn icy

More than 1,000 schools were closed on Friday.

They included more than half of Bristol's schools, more than 300 in Buckinghamshire, more than 150 in Cornwall and scores across Oxfordshire.

In Hampshire, more than 230 schools and colleges were closed as a result of the weather.

Some schools said they may also close their doors on Monday - but were waiting on the weather before making a detailed assessment.

Snow covers houses in Gold Hill, in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Credit: PA
  • Cold front expected to thaw in coming days

The Met Office said conditions should ease into the coming days.

The picture for much of the British Isles over the weekend is looking just as frosty as the past few days with wintry showers persisting.

But it's not all bad news - 10C can be expected in parts of England by Wednesday - perhaps a welcome reprieve from a frozen blast of winter's worst.

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