Britain’s worst November snowfall for decades shut schools and roads from Cornwall to Scotland as forecasters warned that Siberian winds could bring temperatures as low as minus 20C in the coming days.
Deep snow and freezing conditions in the North East and Scotland were causing widespread travel disruption today, with icy temperatures everywhere else creating similar problems for commuters.
There is no sign of a let-up in the wintry weather, with bitter winds increasing and more parts of the UK including London facing snow in the coming days.
So far Scotland and the North East have been worst hit by snow, with more than 40cm in parts, and police have advised people to stay indoors for all but essential travel.
Forecasters warned the rest of the country is likely to be blanketed this week as the weather front moves west.
The severe conditions could also last well into next week, with rain, sleet and snow.
Aisling Creevey, of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Londoners should prepare for the possibility of snow tonight.
She said: ”The snow will become more widespread from (this) evening and most places will get a dusting.
”There will be an increasingly high wind chill during the week and it will feel really raw.”
Many areas will see temperatures remain below zero today, with the warmest place the South East, at a balmy 2C.
Met Office severe weather warnings were in place along the east coast today with heavy snow from Scotland, down through the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands and the East of England.
Blizzard conditions and jackknifed lorries forced authorities to shut the A9 between Dunblane and Perth, one of the busiest roads in Scotland, last night.
The move led some motorists to abandon their cars and look for accommodation.
Central Scotland Police said the road remained closed this morning and urged drivers to avoid the roads throughout the rest of the force area unless absolutely necessary.
A spokesman said: “Conditions are horrendous and we would urge caution.”
All schools in Dundee, West Lothian and Shetland were closed this morning.
Across York and North Yorkshire, around 50 schools were forced to close this morning.
Several schools in East Yorkshire also closed for the day.
Driving was described as hazardous across many parts of Yorkshire as more snow began to fall.
The M62 between junction 34 (Selby) and junction 38 (North Cave) was described as hazardous.
The Sheffield Parkway – the main commuter route into the city – was becoming particularly treacherous as heavy snow began falling at 7.30am.
In East Yorkshire, police urged motorists to take extra care and drive according to the weather conditions following another night of snow leaving a number of roads across the region difficult to drive on.
A Humberside Police spokesman said: “So far we have not experienced a high volume of incidents on our roads this morning.
“However, we are urging anyone travelling around the region to be cautious, allowing extra time for their journey, extra space to slow your vehicle down at junctions and leave a greater distance between yourself and the vehicle you are following in order to ensure you are not caught out by the icy conditions.”
Police said the B1248 at Lund was closed following a single-vehicle collision in the early hours of this morning.
A car hit a telegraph pole but the driver was not injured, Humberside Police said.
The road was likely to remain closed until around lunchtime.
Motorists were advised to avoid the area if possible until further notice.
A Highways Agency spokesman, responsible for motorways and major A roads in England, said there was a temporary closure of a section of the A66 near Bowes last night while snowploughs cleared the road.
One lane was closed eastbound on the M4 Severn Crossing, he said, for around an hour this morning as a precaution after ice started to form on the bridge supports.
“That has now been cleared, they have been out and checked and it is OK,” he said.
He said severe weather meant delays in clearing a section of the A1 near Berwick last night after a lorry overturned.
“At the moment, the network is all flowing nicely, but obviously we are keeping a very close eye on it,” he said.
“It is Monday morning and the advice that we issued last week still stands – be aware and be sensible. If the weather is bad, make sure you have got an emergency kit in the car and think about whether the journey is absolutely necessary.
In Cornwall, 44 schools were closed because of the weather, with another 12 opening later in the morning, Cornwall Council said.
The AA said it dealt with double the normal number of breakdowns yesterday, while the R AC said calls were up a third.
Alan Wilcock, RAC patrol ambassador of the year, said: ”This weekend has been extraordinarily difficult for many motorists as the cold and ice have made driving difficult and dangerous.
”With more bad weather forecast, the Monday morning commute is already looking very, very busy.
”Workers who travel by car may want to consider other options, such as working from home or another form of transport.”
Coldest overnight in the UK was Altnaharra in northern Scotland, which recorded a low of minus 16.1C (3F).
Llysdinam, which saw Wales’s chilliest ever November reading on Sunday at minus 18C (minus 0.4F), was a bit warmer today at minus 12.9C (8.8F).
The temperature in Northolt, west London, bottomed out at minus 2.2C (28F), but it was colder in the South West, with North Dartmoor recording minus 7.9C (17.8F).
2:49AM GMT 29 Nov 2010
Source: The Telegraph