Blizzards cause severe disruption across UK

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Media captionLatest BBC Weather forecast with Phil Avery

Flights and trains have been cancelled and thousands of schools shut as sub-zero conditions continue across the UK.

Rail networks including Southeastern, SouthWestern and ScotRail have told people not to travel on their routes.

Network Rail has said services will wind down at 18:00 GMT and London Waterloo will close at 20:00 GMT.

The Met Office’s red warning has been lifted but flood warnings remain in place in the south-west and north-east of England.

In addition to advising passengers not to travel SouthWestern Railway has announced that it will be shutting its services completely by 20:00 GMT on Friday.

All services at Birmingham New Street station are currently suspended due to a loss of power to overhead lines.

Image copyright Mark Snow
Image caption The UK’s busiest station, London Waterloo, will close at 20:00 GMT

Major incidents have been declared in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Avon and Somerset, as blizzards brought roads to a standstill.

The M62 near Manchester is closed “indefinitely” while the military helps police free stranded motorists.

There are yellow weather warnings for snow, ice and wind in place across the UK throughout Friday, with a Scottish warning in force until 23:55 GMT on Monday, but there are no amber alerts currently in place.

Prime Minister Theresa May has thanked everyone “going the extra mile”.

Image copyright Supt Toby Davies
Image caption Officers have been lent poles to search for vehicles buried in the snow on the A386 in Devon.

The Environment Agency has issued 15 flood warnings and 36 flood alerts for coastal areas in the south-west and north-east of England.

Severe flooding has been reported in Penzance, Cornwall, due to high river levels and swollen seas.

The Met Office has reported the UK has officially broken its record for the lowest temperatures for March in a 24-hour period.

Temperatures in the town of Tredegar in south Wales did not get above -4.7C.

Police forces across the UK have told people to travel only if necessary.

There is a warning of black ice on the M6, while some of the worst problems are near Rochdale on the M62 – which is closed as stranded vehicles are cleared – and on the A303 near Ilminster and the A31 in the New Forest.

On the M62, volunteers from Milnrow, Rochdale, took hot drinks, food and blankets to some of those stuck – including a bottle of warm milk for a five-week-old baby.

Responding to a call for help on social media, farmers used their tractor to drive off-duty midwives to a woman who had gone into labour in the remote village of Balgedie, near Kinross which had been cut off by the snow.

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Image caption Commuters in Cardiff were able to walk on a deserted dual carriageway

Much of Wales has been brought to a standstill, where routine operations have been cancelled as health boards make a plea for staff to attend work. Travel conditions in Scotland remain treacherous.

In Yorkshire up to 1,000 schools remain shut as more snow and strong winds are expected.

The Premier League has said games are expected to go ahead despite the weather, however four matches in the Championship and two games in the Scottish Premiership have been cancelled.

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Media captionPassenger Robert Luther described how everyone was pretty cold and miserable

Passengers who boarded a South Western Railway train to Weymouth at 17:05 GMT on Thursday were still in their carriages on Friday morning after their train broke down in the middle of the night.

Robert Luther, 48, from Poole, was returning from work in London.

“We’ve been stuck here for 11 hours – it must have been close to zero degrees in here last night,” he told the BBC.

“We had 3 foil blankets between 30 of us. A few of us have put plastic bags over our socks and inside our boots – a tip we heard on BBC News yesterday.”

Another passenger, Dave Taylor, said people had been trying to sleep, but it was “so, so cold”.

“A fire brigade medic had arrived to check no casualties,” he said. “No power. No lights. Nothing. Refreshments have run out.”

Meanwhile on another train, Shane White finally arrived in Bournemouth having left Cardiff some 16 hours earlier.

The so-called Beast from the East met Storm Emma on Thursday.

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Image caption Landlord Angus Wharton clears snow outside the Ye Olde Black Ladd pub in Shaw, Greater Manchester.

A seven-year-old girl was killed in Looe, Cornwall, after a car crashed into a house in icy conditions.

Mountain Rescue teams in Clackmannanshire, Scotland are “very concerned” for a missing woman who went for a walk in the Ochil Hills near Menstrie on Thursday afternoon.

The police have asked for sightings of Alison Fox, who is white, about 5ft 2in with short red hair, but urged the public not to join the search for the 51-year-old.

In Edinburgh, troops were deployed to transport 200 critical care hospital workers to and from their shifts at two hospitals on Thursday evening.

Some 15 law courts across Scotland have cancelled trials on Friday.

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Media captionCar has near miss with bus in Edinburgh

Electricity North West said 5,000 customers were off-supply in Buxton, while Western Power Distribution figures showed about 4,000 properties in Wales and south-west England without power on Friday morning.

A highly unusual red weather warning for snow for south-west England and south Wales was lifted at 02:00 GMT.

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Media caption‘Legend’ snow-clearing Cambridgeshire farmers saluted

What is happening with the trains?

Across the UK, more than 20 rail operators are running a reduced service.

National Rail is advising passengers to check their service before travelling. Some train operators are urging people not to travel at all.

How are the airports affected?

Image copyright PA
Image caption The snow being cleared at Leeds Bradford Airport on Thursday

More than 4,000 flights have been cancelled across Europe since Tuesday and the disruption is set to continue into Friday.

  • Glasgow Airport: Open after “the worst snowfall in its history” but there are delays and cancellations
  • Edinburgh Airport: Open with numerous delays and cancellations. All EasyJet and Ryanair flights are cancelled
  • Dublin Airport: All flights have been suspended until Saturday
  • Cardiff Airport: The airport will be closed until Saturday morning
  • Bristol Airport: Runways are now open but there are significant disruptions. EasyJet has cancelled all flights to and from the airport
  • East Midlands Airport: It has warned passengers of cancellations and delays
  • Leeds Bradford: The airport has opened but is experiencing delays
  • Heathrow Airport: The airport advises passengers to check before travelling
  • Gatwick Airport: There are delays and cancellations
  • City Airport: The runway is currently closed while staff clear the snow

What is the forecast?

The Met Office says the cold weather could last into next week and possibly the following week.

Up to 50cm (19 inches) of snow is forecast in parts of Dartmoor, Exmoor and uplands parts of south-east Wales accompanied by gales or severe gales in exposed areas.

Gusts of 60-70mph are possible in parts of northern England and Wales.

Up to 10cm (four inches) of snow is forecast in parts of Scotland and northern England, with up to 25cm over the area’s hills.

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