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Old 21-02-18, 09:33   #1
 
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Update UK: Apocalyptic Snow as Storm Emma Collides with Beast from the East

Temperatures to Fall Below Zero as UK Hit With 'Polar Vortex'

Sudden stratospheric warming will bring cold winds from Eastern Europe





The sun rises through the frosty mist in as deer graze in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire PA
...


Independent UK, 21 Feb 2018.



The UK is set to be hit by a “polar vortex” which will see a freezing Arctic blast sending temperatures below zero.

A sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) will bring cold winds from Eastern Europe to the UK.

There are signs that the cold spell is likely to last well into next week with possibly even colder air from Russia moving across the UK.

There is only a low risk of snow because of the dry nature of the air, although this could change next week, forecasters said.

A spokesperson for the Met Office told The Independent: “The Stratospheric Polar Vortex normally remains over the pole, essentially ‘trapping’ the cold air here.

“This vortex has split though in recent weeks, causing a ‘blocking’ area of high pressure to form across the UK.

“The location of the high will drive in a strong and bitterly cold easterly wind, with air originating all the way from Russia and Siberia.”

Prof Adam Scaife, of the Met Office Hadley Centre, added: “Signs of this event appeared in forecasts from late January and last week we saw a dramatic rise in air temperature of around 50°C, known as a Sudden Stratospheric Warming, at around 30km above the North Pole.

“This warming results from a breakdown of the usual high-altitude westerly winds and it often leads to a switch in our weather: with cold easterly conditions more likely to dominate subsequent UK weather.”

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Old 02-03-18, 15:38   #2
 
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Update Re: UK: Apocalyptic Snow as Storm Emma Collides with Beast from the East

UK: Army Help Drivers Stuck in 'Apocalyptic' Snow as Warnings Issued Over Treacherous Freezing Rain: Snow to Give Way to Floods as Areas of the UK to be Battered by Storm Emma

Hospitals Declare Emergency and Thousands of Homes Lose Power as Snow Covered UK is Blasted by 90MPH Winds and Floods in the Beast From the East's Last Blast


UK hit by blizzards and drifting snow - with more to come
Disruption after Storm Emma brings coldest ever spring day

  • Hundreds of motorists stranded in vehicles overnight. Two police forces declare 'major incidents' as Army is drafted in to help rescue those trapped in their cars
    Panic buying leads to empty supermarket shelves
    National Grid warns UK will not have enough gas to meet demand
  • South Central Ambulance Service appeals for 4x4 owners to help move its staff around in severe conditions
  • Passengers stranded overnight on South Western Railway service from London to Poole at Brockenhurst
  • Residents bring hot drinks, food and blankets to drivers trapped on M62 in Greater Manchester overnight
The Telegraph UK/Daily Mail UK, 2 Mar 2018.


Hospitals have declared emergencies and at least 9,000 homes have lost power as snow-covered Britain is blasted by 90mph winds and flooding - with forecasters warning the country 'is not out of the woods yet'.

Hundreds of motorists were left stranded overnight as extreme weather continued to wreak havoc across Britain today with roads brought to a standstill by winds gusting at up to 90mph causing blizzards and drifting snow.

South West England has been particularly badly hit after facing an unprecedented Met Office red warning for snow, with Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust declaring an 'internal critical incident'.

Officials at the trust have postponed all outpatient and planned routine surgery and diagnostic appointments, and prioritised all available staff to emergency services as they paid to tribute to their 'outstanding' team.

Some 4,000 properties in Wales and South West England were left without power this morning as a result of 38 incidents, while thousands more were hit in the North West - including 5,000 in Buxton, Derbyshire, alone.

Seven flood warning have been issued across the South West and North East telling people to take 'immediate action', as well as 20 alerts - including one for the River Thames between Putney and Teddington in London.

Two police forces declared 'major incidents' as the Army was drafted in to help rescue those left trapped in their cars. The South Central Ambulance Service appealed for help from 4x4 owners to move its staff around.




This car is going nowhere in Tower Hamlets, East London, after being turned into a block of ice by a burst water pipe




The wreckage of a bus and van which collided early this morning in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, is pictured



Mass devastation at Holyhead Marina in North Wales where up to 60 boats have been wrecked after the storm hit overnight



Motorists dig out a car which drove into a snow drift blocking a road in Teesdale, County Durham, this morning



A woman slips while carrying shopping in the snow this morning on Main Street in Alexandria, West Dumbartonshire



It’s So Cold a Waterfall has Frozen Solid in Wales

              


Pictures: Ben Birchall/PA Independent UK

The cold weather hitting much of Britain has intensified so much that a waterfall has completely frozen in Wales.

Temperatures as low as -10 and heavy snowfall has already caused travel disruption and forced hundreds of schools to close, as a cold front dubbed "the Beast from the East" sweeps over the country.

The wintry blast brought snow to the Brecon Beacons and froze the water near a peak called Pen y Fan, forming icicles and turning a waterfall into a magical winter wonderland.




Pictures: (Ben Birchall/PA) Independent UK







Brynmawr, a market town in Blaenau Gwent, South Wales, has been left with an extraordinary covering of snow overnight




An aerial view of snow-covered houses at Crewkerne in Somerset today which has been left covered in snow



Heavy snowfall overnight has left the Derbyshire countryside under more than a foot of the white stuff in places today


The Met Office has issued six separate weather warnings covering almost the entire country today - two amber for 'be prepared' and four yellow for 'be aware' - and further alerts are in place until the end of Monday night.


Snow depths reached half a metre (1ft 8in) in Drumalbin, Lanarkshire and St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. Around 40cm (1ft 4in) of snow was measured in Bishopton, Renfrewshire and at Spadeadam in Cumbria.

Passengers were stranded overnight on the 5.30pm South Western Railway service from London Waterloo to Poole in Dorset last night at Brockenhurst in the New Forest on a train that allegedly had no heating.


Quote:

Weather Cancels More Than 1,250 Flights to or From UK & Irish Airports

More than 1,250 flights to or from UK and Irish airports were cancelled today. Here are the airports with the most cancellations:

  • London Heathrow: 358
  • Dublin: 338
  • Edinburgh: 120
  • Glasgow International: 77
  • Bristol: 62
  • London City: 54
  • Manchester: 40
  • London Gatwick: 38
  • Cork: 38
  • Birmingham: 34
.



Hampshire Police said it had called in the military to help evacuate people from the A31, while Avon and Somerset Constabulary said about 100 vehicles had become stuck on the A303 at Ilminster.

In Greater Manchester, hundreds of drivers spent the night stuck on the M62, with police warning wind speeds had reached 90mph over the Rakewood Viaduct, between junctions 21 and 22.

Dave Webb, 37, from Wakefield, told how he had been on the motorway for ten hours. 'We came to a halt at about 5.30pm last night and have been here since,' he said. 'There hasn't been any snow since about 6.30pm but the wind is pretty strong and gusting.'

Eleanor Kelly, 19, said local residents in Milnrow, Rochdale, had been taking hot drinks, food and blankets to those stuck on the carriageway - including to a father with a baby and toddler in the car.

She said: 'We've been trying to get to as many people as we can in about a mile radius from where we can get to the carriageway.'

The local community centre, Butterworth Hall, was also opened to provide refuge for stranded motorists overnight.

But Rochdale Council tweeted: 'Heard reports someone in a grey Transit-type van is trying to cash-in on people stranded in traffic near the M62 motorway by selling cups of tea for £1.

'Please be aware these are not council staff and we (and volunteers) are handing out drinks for free where we are able to.'

Thames Valley Police's roads policing unit said they had received reports of multiple collisions on the M40 between junctions 3 and 2, and warned of delays.

The military has helped police rescue hundreds of motorists stranded by heavy snow on the A31 in Hampshire. Police declared a 'major incident' after the major route connecting Hampshire and Dorset through the New Forest became impassable in both directions.











The Met Office has issued multiple severe weather warnings covering today (left), tomorrow (centre) and Sunday (right)












.



Seven flood warnings (in red) have been issued across the South West and North East telling people to take 'immediate action', as well as 20 alerts (in orange) - including one for the River Thames between Putney and Teddington in London..


Chels wrote: 'Locals coming to assist with snacks and hot drinks! Troopers in these conditions.' The road was declared open again just before 6am today but police urged motorists to avoid the area.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: 'The A31 is moving again now but we would urge drivers to avoid that area while we seek to clear the trapped traffic and recover the abandoned vehicles.

'An amber weather warning for snow, freezing rain and high winds is still in place across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight so once again, we advise against all essential travel.'

Those stuck on the road have been urged to call 101 if they have a medical condition or are running out of fuel, or to call 999 in an emergency.

Prime Minister Theresa May has thanked the emergency services and hospital staff for their work as cold weather brought some parts of the country to a standstill over night.

'In the current bad weather, I want say thank you to everyone going the extra mile to keep our country moving - and to keep us safe,' the Prime Minister posted on Twitter.
'Thank you to NHS staff and care workers, the police and the armed forces, and all those working to keep our vital public services going.'

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling described the weather as 'exceptional circumstances' for the UK and said that people stranded on roads and trains had had a 'tough night'.

He told Sky News: 'In the case of the train on the south coast - we need to do everything we can to resolve that situation as quickly as possible.
'This is particularly unusual weather, it's something that happens very rarely in this country.'

He added that there is a 'huge' stockpile of salt and that gritters have been out across the UK's roads.

Drivers have reported being stuck for 17 hours on the A303 between Ilminster in Somerset and Mere in Wiltshire.

Over 100 cars and lorries were trapped on the stretch of road overnight due to a gritter getting stuck in the snow after it 'slid sideways', one driver said. Thomas Hamilton, a 36-year-old sales director, was heading from his home in London to a friend's farm when he got caught in the queue.

'I left London at 6pm. We came to a standstill at the start of the A303 around midnight. There were lorries and cars in both lanes trying to get up the hill. We drove past a burned-out car, then we didn't move until 9:30am.'

Mr Hamilton, who was stuck only 10 miles from his destination, said he moved for the first time in hours this morning after 'a soldier got out in a hi-vis jacket with another good Samaritan and moved lorries'.

Wiltshire Council has described the traffic as a 'major incident' and urged people not to travel in the area.

Avon and Somerset Police say there are 20 significant incidents across the force area, with people stranded in snow drifts.

Police are 'as a matter of urgency' rescuing people from two vehicles, one on Dunkery Beacon in west Somerset and one at Burrington Combe in north Somerset.

The force, along with partner agencies, is also continuing to help motorists stranded on the A303, including a bus.

Around 40 people travelling from London were stuck overnight, including a baby, people requiring medication, elderly and vulnerable people.

Butlins has confirmed that the UK Open darts competition this weekend in Minehead will be closed to the public, police said.

The military has also been brought in to assist clearing traffic as the motorway remains closed from junction 20 at Rochdale to junction 24 at Huddersfield.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: 'The strong winds will continue throughout the day and we ask that you don't travel unless it is essential. We are aware of drivers in the surrounding area who have been stranded for some hours due to snow and wind.

'The military have been deployed to support us and our partners in our efforts to clear the roads and get people to safety. We are filtering traffic off the M62 at junction 20 and diversions are in place although traffic is severely congested.'

Police say wind speeds over the Rakewood Viaduct in Greater Manchester have reached 90mph.

The North West Motorway Police tweeted: 'J21-22 M62 the wind speeds over Rakewood are 90mph that is the reason vehicles cannot continue as it would be a risk to life.'

A number of crashes after been reported on the M20 in Kent after the fire service warned of 'black ice' on the carriageways.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said they were in attendance at two collisions - one between junctions seven and eight involving six vehicles and another between junctions three and four involving eight vehicles, in which a vehicle caught fire.

One driver who did not wish to be named said they had witnessed three crashes on the road in a short space of time, and saw a number of cars that appeared to have skidded on the road.

Efforts to keep Devon's roads clear of ice were hampered when a gritter overturned on the A379 on Labrador Bends near Shaldon.

Devon County Council posted a photograph of the scene on Twitter, stating: 'It's still really icy out there!' It added: 'Fortunately everyone unharmed but we're a gritter down until it can be recovered.'

Rail passengers were trapped in frosty carriages overnight after a broken-down train caused tailbacks on the rest of the tracks.




Trains have been suspended after the sea wall at Dawlish on the Devon coast was 'significantly damaged' by the storm



Motorists dig out a car which drove into a snow drift blocking a road in Teesdale, County Durham, this morning



Joe Butterfield of the High Force Hotel wades through deep snow blocking the entrance to his County Durham business today



Traffic queuing to leave the M62 motorway in Greater Manchester today ahead of junction 24 after the road was closed



People were stranded on the 5.30pm South Western Railway service from London Waterloo to Poole in Dorset last night



Traffic queues in the snow in Cornwall overnight as drivers battle to get through the severe weather hitting Britain



People push a car stuck in a snow drift on the A904 between Newton and South Queensferry in West Lothian this morning


South Western Railway wrote on Twitter that a service had got into trouble near Christchurch, Dorset, requiring a 'rescue train' to be sent to it.



Quote:

Military Called in to Help Hospitals and Medics in Bad Weather

The military has been drafted to help hospitals and medics in the Midlands and West Country.

Devon and Cornwall NHS and Shropshire NHS have both asked for assistance, which began at 6am today.

The Army has sent 10 4x4 vehicles and 20 troops to Shropshire while the Royal Marines have deployed the same resources in Devon and Cornwall.
The military has also been brought in to assist clearing traffic from the M62 in Greater Manchester as the motorway remains closed from junction 20 at Rochdale to junction 24 at Huddersfield.

An Ministry of Defence spokesman said: 'The MoD helps in cases of extreme weather when we receive a request from our civilian authority colleagues.

'There are three UK standby battalions held at high readiness to respond to UK contingencies and emergencies, including support to local authorities.
'We have the right people with the right training to respond to a range of contingencies.'



.

Commuters reported being stranded in carriages with failing electricity and fluctuating temperatures. Shane White was stuck on the 4.30pm service from Cardiff to Bournemouth until shortly before 8am this morning.

He wrote on Twitter: 'All sorts of problem all due to ice and snowy, apparently one train near Christchurch has welded itself to the track trying to move, obviously very high voltage going through these lines, but little current flow due to the ice build up.
'They have been trying all night to come up with a solution but trains have ran out of battery power etc, there was some rain that has frozen points and other electrical connections, with all the roads block and vehicle snowed in there is no road transport available.'

Other services which were stuck overnight reportedly included an early evening train from London Waterloo to Weymouth, which ground to a halt outside New Milton.

South Western Railway passenger 'Ian R', who caught the 8.30pm train from Woking in Surrey to Bournemouth in Dorset, suffered horrendous overnight delays after expecting a journey time of an hour and a half.

He told MailOnline at 6am: 'Outside Southampton informed of broken down train causing a delay. Arrived in Southampton Station to await instructions from their control centre if it was safe to proceed.

'Since then the exasperated driver apologises for delay as he is unable to contact the control centre. They are not answering the phones. He has done a good job but let down like us all.

'We have now been stopped for eight hours and no deep snow or heavy frost or anything. We understand at least three trains are involved. One of which is now attached to our train.'

He added that the driver 'arranged limited supplies of water in the night and a short while ago offer of free hot drink was made; nothing about food'.

Another South Western Railway passenger, Danielle Bennett, got in touch with MailOnline at 1.30am this morning to say she started her journey from London to Poole at 7pm last night – and was stuck at Southampton.




Snowdrifts caused by strong winds reach up to 3ft high in Penarth, near Cardiff, this morning amid the severe weather



Giant waves crash over Souter Lighthouse at South Shields in Tynemouth on the North East coast of England today



A car almost fully submerged by a snow drift near Forest-in-Teesdale in County Durham this morning



Canal boats are frozen into position in Birmingham's canal system as snowy conditions continue around the country today



Summerhill Force in Teesdale, County Durham, is a cascade of icicles this morning as the bitter weather continues



Snow drifts around Leamington Spa in Warwickshire today where many commuters have chosen to stay at home



People carry snowboards in Clifton, Bristol, this morning where a blanket of snow has covered the city overnight



The streets are deserted and shops and businesses remain closed on Eastern Avenue in Cardiff this morning



Quote:

Weather Warnings for Britain until Monday

TODAY
Amber ('be prepared')
  • Snow for Scotland and Northern Ireland (0.05am-10am)
  • Wind and snow for South West England and South Wales (0.05am-8am)
Yellow ('be aware')
  • Wind for North West England (0.05am-12pm)
  • Snow for Scotland (0.05am-23.55pm)
  • Snow and ice for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (0.05am-23.55pm)
TOMORROW
Yellow ('be aware')
  • Snow for Scotland and Northern England (0.05am-23.55pm)
  • Ice for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (0.05am-9am)
SUNDAY
Yellow ('be aware')
  • Snow and ice for eastern Scotland (0.05am-23.55pm)
MONDAY
Yellow ('be aware')
  • Snow and ice for eastern Scotland (0.05am-23.55pm)
.





'8pm coach from Victoria coach station was cancelled. Managed to get a train ticket from Clapham junction to Poole for the 9.12pm train... got the delayed 7.12pm train at 9.05pm, got kicked off at Southampton central at 10.45pm and we were told to change to platform one.

'Two and a half hours later we are still sat on the track at Southampton Central with no updates and no food trolley with drinks etc being supplied to all the stranded people!

'I've seen a guard twice in the two and a half hours of being here, there were no staff on the platform or service desk, and as there were no updates on the situation, I had to go and search for someone to ask.

'At this rate it looks like we're going to be here until sunrise. South Western Railway are not dealing with the situation well at all! No staff on hand, no food or drinks being offered, and no preparation has been made when they knew this weather was coming! The majority of Europe seem to be able to manage these weather conditions, why is it so hard for the UK?! It's embarrassing!'

Passenger Paula Baker told ITV's Good Morning Britain that she had been stuck on South Western Railways train for 15 hours, trying to get to Weymouth in Dorset.

She said: 'It normally takes two hours and I was going to be getting off at Weymouth and we literally ground to a halt with no heating. We've still not got heating. It's daylight now and that's the light we've got on the carriage and there's about 55 passengers on the train.

'We've had no toilet facilities, no heating and no information for 13 odd hours. We've had passengers threatening to walk off the train. The driver locked himself in his carriage. The guard keeps coming out to apologise but we've had no information about what's going on.

'We moved a foot (at 2.30am) and stopped again and that's where we've been. We've keep saying 'has anybody rung anybody? They just said 'no, we've been speaking to the controllers and we're just really sorry' and that's all we've had.

'(The driver) didn't come out to speak to us. Somebody asked for the driver to come out and explain to everyone what was going on and that wasn't forthcoming.

'Earlier on we put some Madonna on so we were dancing to that trying to keep warm. We've been chatting and getting to know each other as it's been too cold to sleep. But everybody now is tired, hungry, fed up and just wants to get out and go into somewhere warm.'

South Western Railway wrote on its website: 'Due to multiple broken-down trains between Weymouth and Southampton Central, all lines are blocked.




Children sledge on Hampstead Heath in North West London today as many youngsters make the most of the snow



Cars buried in snow in Naas County Kildare, as the severe weather conditions continue today in the Republic of Ireland



An abandoned car near Blackstone Edge in the Pennines today as Britain is hit by continuing severe weather



A dog stomps through the snow in Kirkliston, West Lothian, today as the bad conditions cause problems over the UK



Adam Suthers digs out a car stuck in the snow in Ripponden, Yorkshire, as the UK continues to battle the weather



Frozen canals in Birmingham city centre today, as much of the country has suffered from snowfall and freezing conditions



A closed section of the M62 near Kirklees, West Yorkshire, as the severe weather conditions continue to cause travel chaos



Network Rail issued this photo of a snow plough at Carstairs station on the West Coast Main Line this morning




Quote:

Beast From the East and Storm Emma Claim Ten Victims Across Britain

Yesterday
  • Seven-year-old girl is hit by an out of control car in Looe, Cornwall, while playing out in the snow
  • Body of a 75-year-old woman is found near her home on a snow-covered street in Leeds
  • A 46-year-old van driver dies after his vehicle collides with a lorry on the A34 near Tot Hill services in Hampshire
Wednesday
  • Stephen Cavanagh, 60, dies after jumping into a frozen lake trying to save his dog in Welling, South East London
  • Care worker Elaine McNeill, 42, dies after collapsing on her way to work in Milton, Glasgow
Tuesday
  • John Paul Capstick, 57, dies in a five-vehicle crash on the A47 near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire
  • Three women die in a crash between a car and a lorry on the A15 near Baston in Lincolnshire
  • A homeless man, known locally as Ben, is found dead near a church in Retford in Nottinghamshire
.





'Train services running to and from these stations may be cancelled, delayed or revised at short notice. All stations between Bournemouth and Weymouth will not be served.

'Because of the severe weather conditions, multiple trains have broken down between Weymouth and Bournemouth. All lines between these stations are currently blocked. Trains are stuck in a queue behind the defective trains and are unable to move.

'We are in the process of trying to move the broken-down trains and will update you when we have further information. Emergency rail replacement is extremely limited in the area due to severe weather, but we are doing our best to help you complete your journey.'

A total of five trains were stranded overnight on the route between London and Weymouth, Network Rail said.

A spokesman said: 'We'd like to apologise to passengers trapped on trains overnight on the South Western Railway network due to extreme weather.

'We worked closely with South Western Railway and the emergency services through the night who responded to the most vulnerable passengers.

'All passengers were removed from trains earlier this morning, but the ongoing extreme weather meant emergency services were not able to evacuate people sooner.

'We are asking people not to travel across the South Western Railway network today unless absolutely essential. Services across the route will also be stopping early this evening.'

A South Western Railway spokesman later added: 'The forecast this afternoon is for further severe snow and high winds. We are urging you not to attempt to travel.

'If you have already travelled, please return as early as possible. Our service will be closing down early today. We will confirm what time trains will stop running on our network as soon as we can.'

Commuter Philip Brown has spoken of how he endured more than 15 hours on a train with 50 people on board which became stuck overnight in the snow.

The 49-year-old, who was travelling from London Waterloo to Bournemouth, Dorset, when the train became stuck in the New Forest, said: 'I didn't have any food or water, there were no buffet facilities on board, the train lost power and we lost heating and lights.





A farm house in the snow next to the M62 in Kirklees, West Yorkshire after a section of the motorway was closed







Sarah Harker from Murton in Cumbria opened her front door to a wall of snow today, top. Pictured (bottom) is Bristol today



People walk along the road after motorists became stranded on the snow-blanketed A31 towards heading towards Dorset



The scene this morning where up to 100 cars were stuck on the A303 in Ilminster, Somerset, overnight






People got out of their vehicles on the A38 in Devon as they became stranded overnight due to the snow



Hundreds of motorists have spent the night in their cars or in rescue centres after the issues on the A303 in Ilminster


'I couldn't tell you how cold it was but it was cold enough to prevent you from sleeping. People were taking it in their stride although one guy was quite agitated. People were wrapping jumpers round their legs trying to keep warm.'

South Western Railway said multiple incidents were affecting its services, warning that trains may be cancelled or severely delayed, with disruption expected until the end of the day. It told passengers: 'We cannot guarantee to get you to your destination this afternoon.'

A red weather warning - the second in 24 hours - expired at 2am, but amber warnings for snow are still in place for much of Scotland, the North East of England, and parts of Northern Ireland, running until 10am, and for wind and snow in south western parts of the UK until 8am.
Up to 50cm of snow could fall over parts of Dartmoor, Exmoor and south east Wales.

Yellow warnings for snow are also in place for vast swathes of the country for the whole day, while a yellow warning for wind covers the North East of England and Wales until midday.

Temperatures will once again be below freezing for many parts of the UK during the day, with strong winds making it feel even chillier.

Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates said: 'We are not out of the woods yet. There's further snow to come, as well as a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain.

'Even parts of London and the South East are not immune to seeing more snow through the afternoon - not as much as yesterday, but still enough to cause further disruption.'

All 279 schools in Cornwall have been closed as the county deals with potential snow, ice and flooding.

Devon and Cornwall Police have urged people to avoid all travel unless essential.

Trees have fallen in Gweek and Praze, with snow drifts and abandoned vehicles blocking roads, and emergency services are dealing with reports of flooding in the Lizard area.

Five properties have flooded in Porthallow, due to high tide, strong winds and run off from melting snow.

Mourners are being asked to check that funerals have not been re-arranged, though Penmount Crematorium is operational.

In Northern Ireland almost 400 schools are closed. Traffic on the roads was disrupted.

Mourne Mountain Rescue has been helping essential staff reach Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, Co Down. Airports are open but passengers have been advised to contact their airlines.




Early morning bathers brave the cold to swim at Hampstead Heath ponds in North West London this morning



Dawlish train station in Devon has been left flooded today as the severe weather conditions continue across the country



Local worker Billy Black clears heavy snow for residents this morning in Alexandria, West Dumbartonshire



A man jumps into the Hampstead Heath pond on a very chilly day in North West London this morning



A freezing morning as the ice waves roll in on Man 'o' War Bay and Durdle Door on the Jurassic coast in Dorset today



Passengers tried to get some sleep under space blankets after being stuck on the train from Waterloo to Poole overnight



The majority of schools in Wales are closed as well as many libraries and other council buildings and services.

Of the country's 22 councils, 12 are reporting that all schools in their areas are closed while information on the websites of the remaining 10 show hundreds of further school closures.

Meanwhile all flights have been grounded at Cardiff Airport with an update expected at around 11am.

Several transport companies including Stagecoach in South Wales and Arriva Trains Wales, which has cancelled all services in the south, have suspended services.

Cardiff Council, which has closed all schools and libraries along with Bute and Roath Parks and Cardiff Market, said its teams had been working 'around the clock battling heavy snowfall, freezing rain and frozen ground to try and keep the roads clear'.

A spokesman said: 'Despite this, motorists are facing extremely difficult driving conditions this morning and the transport network is severely compromised.'

The whole of the Irish Republic is also on red alert, valid until 6pm today, after being hit by the worst snow in 35 years.

Evelyn Cusack, senior forecaster with Met Eireann, warned 40cm (1ft 4in) of snow could fall in parts of the east and south.

In Ireland the worst of the blizzard conditions are believed to have passed leaving snow one metre deep on high ground in the east.

But despite the lockdown alert being lifted in Ireland, the country's Transport Minister Shane Ross pleaded with people to only make 'the most necessary of journeys'.

'Please do not use the roads today unless you absolutely have to,' he said. 'During the night some motorists became trapped in their cars and we would hope that people today will use common sense and not risk their own safety and that of our emergency services.

'If your journey is vital please ensure that you pack safety supplies into your car. However, I appeal to anyone who is thinking of making a journey to stop, ask themselves if they really need to get into that car, and if possible, decide against it. Remember, it's not just your own life you're risking.'

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also backed the advice for people not to travel unless it is absolutely essential. 'It is okay to go outside, the blizzard has passed, but there should not be any unnecessary travel,' Mr Varadkar said. Snow is going to continue to fall.'

Some 24,000 homes, farms and businesses are without power, ESB Networks said. Another 83,000 customers experienced blackouts overnight with greater Dublin and eastern areas worst hit.

Met Eireann extended its red weather warning for snow to Galway, with the southern half of the country under the precautionary alert.
But emergency planning chiefs said the public safety advice to shelter indoors has been withdrawn.

'There are variations in storm impact across the country and people need to take account of circumstances locally before deciding to venture outdoors or undertake journeys,' the agency said.

A number of motorists were reported stranded in their cars overnight in parts of west and south Dublin, gardai said.

Several drivers had to be rescued by emergency services, cars were also abandoned in northern suburbs of the capital and serious snow drifts have been reported in east Galway.

The Garda traffic corps said: 'Gardai urge motorists to remain off roads unless absolutely necessary.
'Large amounts of snow on many roads and conditions vary significantly. Cars abandoned on many roads due to snow.'

In Scotland, severe weather is causing continued disruption to travel, with dozens of drivers stuck in a snowdrift.

Police said 20 to 30 vehicles became stuck in snow on the A92 near Inverbervie in Aberdeenshire shortly before 7am and efforts were under way to free them.

In Easter Ross, police said the Nigg, Fearn, Balintore, Portmahomack, Tain and Eddertson areas were closed off due to the adverse weather conditions, which are causing snowdrifts.

They were also dealing with incidents on the B9175 where some drivers were reportedly stuck during the night.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: 'Just finished latest @scotgov resilience call. A big issue over next couple of days will be snow drifts, making some local roads impassable. @scotgov will work with councils to mitigate impact on communities. Advice to public is to check with local council before travelling.'

An amber weather warning for snow expired at 10am today; however, a yellow warning of snow across Scotland is in place until 11.55pm tomorrow.

A number of rail and bus services in the amber alert area have been suspended throughout this morning over concerns for safety of staff and passengers.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said roads teams will need time to make routes safe even after the Met Office snow warning expires at 10am, and advised motorists to avoid travel.




The empty M62 motorway in Greater Manchester near junction 24 after the road was closed between junctions 21 and 24



A man on his mobility scooter braves the deep snow conditions at Hanham in Bristol this morning



All bus services have been cancelled in Bristol today as the city is covered in snow and faces more severe weather



A burst water main which froze in a field near Ceredigion Bay has created this stunning ice sculpture, pictured yesterday



Team GB snowboarder Aimee Fuller races Leo Emmett down a snowy Primrose Hill in North London yesterday




A woman walks to work in Bristol this morning after a further blanket of snow covered the city overnight



Quote:


Cars Suffer 'More Than £10million of Damage in Three Days'

More than £10 million of damage has been done to cars in just three days as the Beast from the East pounces on the UK's roads, an insurer has estimated.

Figures from the AA's Cardiff-based car insurance claims team yesterday suggest that nationally the Siberian snow has led to more than 8,000 collisions - costing insurers more than £10.7 million.

The estimated bill is based on the average cost of repairing a damaged car being around £1,300.

On Wednesday, the number of insurance claims was more than a third higher than on a normal Wednesday for that time of year, the AA said. Two-thirds of claims related to mishaps in the snow and ice.

Michael Lloyd, the AA's director of insurance, said: 'Claims are going up as you might expect during the extremely icy weather that the country is experiencing.

'Based on the AA's share of the car insurance market, we estimate that the total number of private cars involved in collisions is well over 8,200 and rising.
'That equates to around £10.7 million-worth of dented metal.'

He said that, fortunately, many of these crashes have happened at relatively low speed as motorists do their best to drive according to the conditions.

Often, cars have hit objects such as kerbs, bollards or barriers. Walls, lamp posts, road signs, bus shelters and wheelie bins have also come off badly.

.


'Please don't assume on Fri 10.01am that trunk road network will be completely clear.'Gritters etc will need time for post Red/Amber recovery.'

Troops have been called into transport medics to and from Edinburgh's two biggest hospitals after a request from NHS Lothian to the Scottish Government.

The extreme weather has seen health boards cancel non-essential operations and outpatient appointments today, while NHS 24 has described its operations as being 'stretched'.

Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow saw tiles fly from its roof under pressure from the extreme weather.

An estimated 1,000 vehicles were stuck on the M80 until yesterday afternoon, with some spending the night in their cars and others abandoning their vehicles on the motorway.

Other major roads such as the M876 and minor routes also faced severe disruption due to crashes and deep snow.

As difficult conditions are set to continue, flights at Scotland's busiest airports are facing another day of disruption and cancellations.

Glasgow and Edinburgh first called a halt to routes on Wednesday and will be reassessing safety during the morning.

Passengers have been warned to only travel to the airport once they have checked the status of their flight with the airline.

ScotRail has said no services will be running through the amber alert area until tests are carried out on tracks, while Virgin Trains has said its west coast route to Scotland could be closed and is eastern line will be limited.

A number of bus operators are also warning of disruption to routes this morning, while Edinburgh Trams is running a reduced service.

Hundreds of schools up and down the country will remain closed, including in Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, East Lothian, West Lothian and Edinburgh.
Glasgow School of Art has also been closed until Monday.

Witnesses due at 15 courts in Scotland have been told not to attend after trials were cancelled over safety fears.

Courts affected include Glasgow, Edinburgh, Livingston, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Hamilton, Alloa, Stirling, Falkirk, Paisley, Dumbarton, Airdrie, Greenock, Perth and Coatbridge.

The so-called Beast from the East, which met Storm Emma yesterday, has already proved deadly. A seven-year-old girl became the latest to die during the severe weather yesterday.

The child, believed to be a pedestrian, was fatally injured after a car hit a house on Bodrigan Road in Looe at about 2.30pm, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

A 75-year-old woman was earlier found dead in a snow-covered street in Leeds, while Hampshire Police said a 46-year-old man died after a collision involving a lorry and van on the A34 southbound near Tot Hill services.

A 60-year-old man who died after being pulled from the water at Danson Park, near Welling, south-east London, on Wednesday, was named by the Metropolitan Police as Stephen Cavanagh.

The National Grid has withdrawn its gas deficit warning following an increase in supplies to the network as extreme weather continues to batter Britain.

The power operator said that following 'significant supply losses' yesterday, the market has 'continued to respond over the last 24 hours and we have seen an increase of supplies into the network'.

'As the extremely cold weather continues we expect to see high demand on the gas network, so we are continuing to monitor developments closely,' it added.

National Grid said in a statement: 'The 'Gas Deficit Warning' issued yesterday was withdrawn at 4.45am this morning and we are currently not expecting to issue another today.

'The market has continued to respond over the last 24 hours and we have seen an increase of supplies into the network.


'As the extremely cold weather continues we expect to see high demand on the gas network, so we are continuing to monitor developments closely.
'Protecting customer supplies is always our first priority and we would like to reassure them that this high demand has not affected their domestic gas supplies.'

Nearly all train operators warned of cancellations and disruption again today and hundreds more flights were cancelled. Motorists across much of the UK have been warned against driving unless absolutely essential.

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