Travel chaos as snow and freezing rain batters parts of the UK

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman


Snow and freezing rain have battered parts of the UK, with below freezing temperatures expected to cause more disruption later tonight.

A Met Office yellow weather warning has been issued until 9pm on Thursday, stretching from the northern Highlands to South Yorkshire.

Snowfall could reach up to 10 centimetres on ground above 200 metres in Yorkshire, with a maximum of 20 centimetres of snow set to fall on the highest parts of the region.

Snow-covered trees at the River Knaik at Braco, near Dunblane, in Scotland Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA
A couple walk through the snow in Auchendinny, Midlothian Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Hundreds of schools open for the children of key workers have now closed across Bradford, Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Barnsley, Rotherham, York and other parts of Yorkshire.

Drivers have been urged to avoid the runs unless their travel is essential.

Dunford Bridge in the snow Credit: @DunfordBridge
Snow has forced RHS Garden Harlow to close to visitors Credit: RHS/ Neil Hepworth

Superintendent Chris Bowen of West Yorkshire Police Operational Support, said: "We are experiencing a much higher volume of non-emergency calls to the force than normal with weather related calls significantly increasing demand.

"Between 11am and 12pm today the force took in excess of three hundred 101 and 999 calls."

He added: "Normally we would take around 200 in this time period so we are asking residents to please consider if non-emergency or non-urgent calls they may be considering can be postponed."

In Halifax, footage shared on social media showed an out of control double decker bus sliding across an icy road. The driver was able to regain control of the bus and avoid crashing the vehicle.

These sledgers enjoy the snow at Glencourse Golf Course near Penicuik, Midlothian Credit: Jane Barlow/PA
A woman pushes a shopping trolley through snow in Hexham Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
A tractor makes its way through snow in Braco, near Dunblane, in Scotland Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: "By Thursday afternoon we could be looking at the risk of snow across many parts of northern England."

Mr Burkill said that rainfall would "go some way to preventing much snow lying" elsewhere through Thursday in particular.

"For northern England we could be looking at around 15cm, perhaps 20cm by the end of Thursday over the highest routes," he said.

A Royal Mail lorry drives through snow on the A69 near Newcastle Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
Snow covers the church and graveyard in Braco, near Dunblane in Scotland Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

Further wintry weather is forecast to arrive on Saturday, and that "could bring heavy rain and also some significant snow particularly for central parts of England".

It is possible temperatures will plunge further next week, Mr Burkill said, and there is "very much a possibility" of a Beast from the East 2 in the "middle of next week".

The first Beast from the East, the name given to the significant snowfall in February 2018, happened when a sudden stratospheric warming event sent freezing winds from Siberia.

A train arrives at Hexham train station, Northumberland Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
A member of staff from Tesco shovels snow outside the store in Hexham, Northumberland Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
A coronavirus information sign surrounded by snow in Auchendinny, Midlothian Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Mr Burkill said that for such weather to occur next week, "what we'd need is a blocking area of high pressure, particularly to the north of the UK, and that would then drag in that cold easterly wind".

"There are some signs that we could get something similar to that during the middle part of next week so that's what we're looking out for," he said.

  • Sheffield runner heads out for a jog bare foot

"It's too early to say with any confidence, however there are some signs.

"Some models are suggesting we could get cold air coming from the east, north-east which at this time of year is very cold indeed, but it's by no means a guarantee."

The snowfall was no deterrent to some hardy joggers in Midlothian Credit: Jane Barlow/PA
A war memorial covered in snow in Braco, near Dunblane in Scotland Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA