الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Motorists stranded by snowfall

A coach on a snow-covered roadPassengers said the coach they were travelling on got stuck on a hill in Sheffield

Dozens of coach passengers and drivers have been left stranded in Yorkshire after snowfall swept parts of the UK.

A group of coach passengers have spent the night in a Sheffield church due to the snow, and the AA said “lots” of cars had been abandoned in the city.

Rain, sleet and snow moved east across Northern Ireland, Wales, central and northern England and southern Scotland on Friday and overnight.

Forecasters say the “worst of the snow” has now passed.

In other developments:

  • Cheshire Police said conditions on some roads were “treacherous”, while Staffordshire Police tweeted: “Please only travel tonight if necessary”
  • The Met Office said on Friday that 10cm (4in) of snow had fallen in Leek, Staffordshire
  • Flights into Liverpool Airport were diverted to Manchester on Friday while snow was cleared and Leeds Bradford Airport was closed on Friday evening
  • Snow also created difficult conditions at football matches, including in the West Midlands where West Bromwich Albion took on Manchester City
  • Weather warnings remain in place, along with a “cold weather alert” meaning the cold could put vulnerable people at risk

A group of people standing next to a coach in the snowThe passengers were due to leave Sheffield for London on Friday afternoon

Chloe McIntosh told the BBC she was one of 20-30 passengers who tried to catch a 14:15 GMT National Express coach from Sheffield to London on Friday.

She said the coach did not arrive to collect the passengers, but a replacement picked them up and set off at about 18:45.

But she said this got stuck in the snow on a steep hill before getting out of Sheffield.

“Some people from the houses nearby have come and offered us tea,” she said.

“Then they opened up the church.”

The passengers are now sheltering at Our Lady of Beauchief St Thomas of Canterbury Church.

At 05:30 GMT on Saturday Miss McIntosh said she and other passengers were angry that National Express had still not resolved the situation.

Another passenger, Chantelle Esposito, said: “The locals who have brought out blankets, tea, coffee, food and shelter have been a blessing.

“I don’t know where we would be at this time without them.”

National Express said it was arranging “alternative travel” for its customers, adding: “We apologise to the passengers whose journeys have been so severely disrupted.”

A queue of cars on a snowy roadThe AA tweeted a picture of gridlock in Sheffield

At 23:30, the AA’s Special Operations Response Team tweeted a picture with the message: “Prince of Wales Rd, #Sheffield around 30 mins ago! Lots of abandoned vehicles locally!”

Dr Stan Fowler told the BBC he was one of a “handful” of drivers spending the night in their cars at Woodhall Services on the M1.

“I arrived here at 20:30 and have bedded down for the night after parts of the car park became impassable,” he said.

“The staff have been excellent and have brought duvets from the nearby hotel and although it wasn’t how I would have chosen to spend Boxing Day night, it really hasn’t been too bad at all.”

A crashed lorry blocked all southbound lanes of the M1 south of Barnsley earlier, and there are still delays on the motorway on the stretch between Sheffield and Barnsley.

A crashed lorry blocking lanes on a snowy motorwayThe M1 southbound was blocked earlier by a crashed lorry

Motorist Rob Simpson said some roads in Yorkshire were “almost undriveable”.

“I was on the M1 near Rotherham in South Yorkshire and it’s taken me about two hours to get home to Leeds,” he said.

“The journey normally takes about 40 minutes.”

Three people pushing a car on a snowy roadPeople in Rotherham have been helping drivers stuck on snowy roads

BBC Weather forecaster Laura Gilchrist said the “worst of the snow” had now passed, but there could be some wintry showers and icy conditions on Saturday.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings – meaning “be aware” – for snow and ice for much of Scotland.

There is also an ice warning for Northern Ireland and parts of England and Wales, and a warning of high winds for the far south-east of England.

Flights into Liverpool airport were diverted because of the snowFlights were briefly diverted from Liverpool Airport to Manchester

West Brom vs Man CityThere was snow at West Brom’s game with Man City

Girls with snowballs in Gateacre, LiverpoolIt was time for snowballs in Gateacre, Liverpool

Issuing a cold weather alert for parts of England, the Met Office said there was a 90% chance that severe weather between 15:00 GMT on Friday and 12:00 GMT on Wednesday could “increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services”.

The amber – level three – alert is one below a national emergency and indicates social and healthcare services should target “high-risk” groups, such as the very young or old, or those with chronic diseases.

Public Health England also urged people to look out for vulnerable friends and family and neighbours during the cold snap.

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