Temperatures across UK plummet as heavy snowfall leaves thousands without power

Cumbria Police has urged people not to travel to the county on Sunday after it declared a major incident because of heavy snowfall on the county's roads

Parts of the UK have woken up to heavy snowfall as temperatures across the country plummeted to as low as -12C overnight.

A major incident was declared in Cumbria on Sunday with hundreds of motorists forced to abandon their cars overnight and thousands of households left without electricity.

An emergency refuge centre was opened in Ambleside for people who were left stranded, while local primary school opened its doors and handed out blankets.

Meteorologist Tom Morgan said unofficial reports indicated there was “comfortably in excess of 20cm, probably in excess of 30cm, of snow across the Windermere and Coniston area of the South Lakes and also down towards Ambleside and the far south of Cumbria”.

Cumbria Police urged people not to travel to the county unless necessary and advised residents to stay indoors.

A farmer with her cattle in the snow in the North York Moors National Park Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Electricity North West's list of live power cuts at 10am showed that 2,508 customers were affected across Cumbria, including 256 in Lowick, South Lakeland.

In a post on social media, Electricity North West said: “Access is difficult and our teams are using 4x4s to try to reach sections of the damaged network.

The Met Office extended weather warnings for snow and ice into Sunday for parts of the UK.

The Met Office has issued the following weather warnings:

  • A yellow weather warning for ice in the East Midlands, the West Midlands, the north of England, and much of north and central Wales from 5pm on Sunday to 12pm on Monday.

  • A yellow weather warning for snow and ice in eastern Scotland from 5pm on Sunday to 12pm on Monday.

  • A yellow weather warning for snow and ice from 6pm on Saturday to 12pm on Sunday covering much of the Midlands, Yorkshire, the north east and north west of England, and north and central Wales.

  • A yellow weather warning for rain from midnight until 6pm on Monday in parts of southern England, South Wales and the south-west Midlands.

The Met Office said: “Some snow is also likely, mainly across the hills and mountains of north Wales and The Peak District.

“Snow may fall to lower levels for a time tomorrow morning, especially across parts of Wales adding to the risk of ice.”

A number of local community venues in Cumbria have also opened to provide support to those impacted by the heavy snowfall, including Ambleside Parish Centre, Braithwaite Hall and Esthwaite Primary School.

Ambleside resident Harrison Ward said the snow was the heaviest he had seen during eight years of living in the Cumbrian town, adding that lots of people had abandoned their vehicles on Saturday as they “tried to find refuge”.

One driver said they were stuck between Ambleside and Windermere for more than five hours on Saturday.

Lincolnshire Police said snow had affected driving conditions, particularly in the east of the county.

In Wales, the A470 was closed between Llechwedd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, towards the Crimea Pass due to the weather conditions on Saturday afternoon as North Wales Police told drivers to avoid the area.

Glasgow Airport temporarily suspended all flights on Saturday morning, with the transport hub posting on X, formerly Twitter, at 7.24am that it was doing so because of “heavier than forecast snow”.

At 10.20am, the airport posted: “Our runway is now fully operational again and we are working with our airline partners and their handlers to resume flight schedules.”

The snow-covered peak of Beinn Eighe and the mountains of Torridon are reflected in Loch Droma near Ullapool, Wester Ross. Credit: PA

Flights were also cancelled and delayed at London Stansted Airport because of cold weather conditions on Saturday evening.

The UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office have issued amber cold health alerts in five regions – the East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber – until December 5, meaning “cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time”.

The Met Office meteorologist said the weather on Sunday had "turned a bit milder in the south", but added it was "still cold further north across the UK and there's going to be some further wintry showers and ice as we go through tonight".

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