الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Warnings of icy roads across UK

Snowy street in Sheffield

Warnings about icy roads have been issued for much of the UK as forecasts suggest snow in many areas could thaw and freeze again as temperatures fall.

BBC Weather said “ice would be the main hazard” facing northern England, Wales, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Around 2,000 homes in the East Midlands were without power at 11:30 GMT on Saturday, according to Western Power Distribution.

Roads were particularly badly hit in Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

A group of coach passengers spent the night in a Sheffield church, and some drivers were forced to abandon their cars due to heavy snowfall and a crashed lorry on the M1.

Drivers were also marooned in the Peak District and Chesterfield areas of Derbyshire.

Crookes area of SheffieldEfforts to get moving in the Crookes area of Sheffield

River Trent at Gunthorpe in NottinghamshireThe River Trent at Gunthorpe in Nottinghamshire

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

There are also ice warnings for Northern Ireland and parts of England and Wales, and a warning of high winds for south-east England.

In other developments:

  • Liverpool Airport and Leeds Bradford Airport have reopened after closing on Friday evening
  • Some passengers faced delays at Manchester Airport after flights were diverted there from Liverpool and Leeds
  • Police warned of hazardous conditions on the roads, especially in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

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



A coach on a snow-covered road

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Stranded coach passenger Chloe McIntosh: “Residents opened up the local church and the priest gave us lots of teas, lots of mince pies”

She said the coach did not arrive to collect the passengers, and a replacement got stuck in the snow before getting out of Sheffield.

The passengers took shelter at Our Lady of Beauchief St Thomas of Canterbury Church before eventually boarding another coach at 06:30 GMT.

Ms McIntosh told the BBC: “National Express unfortunately did nothing for us – they went missing between 12 and 4am.”

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

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How to drive in snow and ice

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

  • Balance your speed – too fast and you risk losing control, but if you go too slow you risk losing momentum
  • Start gently in second gear, avoiding high revs. Stay in a higher gear for better control.
  • Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble.
  • Increase the distance at which you follow other vehicles.
  • Plan your journey around busier roads, which are more likely to have been gritted.
  • On a downhill slope, get your speed low before you start the descent, and do not let it build up.
  • In falling snow, use dipped headlights or foglights but switch off if conditions improve.

Read more about how to prepare your car and get readers’ tips on driving in freezing weather.

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Dr Stan Fowler told the BBC he was one of a “handful” of drivers who had spent 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 at 11:30 GMT on Saturday delays remained on the motorway on the stretch between Sheffield and Barnsley.

Coach passengers sheltering at Our Lady of Beauchief  St Thomas of Canterbury ChurchCoach passengers were forced to sleep on chairs or on the floor at a nearby church

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

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

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 until 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 weather.

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