Snow causes major disruption across UK

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Media captionLatest BBC Weather forecast with Phil Avery

Flights and trains have been cancelled and drivers stranded as sub-zero conditions continue across the UK.

Rail networks Southeastern, South Western and ScotRail advised people not to travel on their routes on Friday.

Thousands of properties were left without power across the south west of England, south Wales and the Midlands.

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

Services stopped leaving London Waterloo station just before 22:00 GMT with the South Western Railway network shutting down early.

Meanwhile, the RAC says that freezing rain could pose the biggest threat to drivers as black ice forms on roads.

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Media captionPiers Hanson walked down the tracks after receiving clearance from police

There were severe delays to services in Lewisham, south London after passengers stuck on four Southeastern trains “forced open” doors, left the carriages and started walking along the tracks.

The rail company said police and the fire service assisted in helping to restore power on the tracks and get trains moving again.

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

The M62 near Manchester was closed while the military helped police free stranded motorists.

Around 100 cars were stuck on the A505 between Hitchin and Luton but were able to complete their journey after a few hours.

The body of a woman has been found during a search for missing 51-year-old hillwalker Alison Fox, who went walking in the Ochil Hills behind Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, on Thursday afternoon.

A police spokesman said formal identification had not yet taken place but Ms Fox’s family had been informed.

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Media captionNear miss bus driver Charmaine Laurie: “It looked worse on the video”

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

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

In Scotland the armed forces are transporting vital NHS staff to the hospitals where they work.

Electricity North West says it restored power to 20,000 homes in the north west of England but some rural areas could be without power overnight on Friday.

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Image caption Officers had the loan of poles to search for vehicles buried 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 said the UK has officially broken its record for the lowest temperatures in a 24-hour period in March.

Temperatures in the town of Tredegar in south Wales did not get above -5.2C on Thursday.

Police forces around 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.

In Cumbria, a farmer ran out of feed for his 4,000 hens near Penrith and asked for a route to be cleared.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Sian Lloyd reports from the Vale of Glamorgan
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Image caption Commuters in Cardiff were able to walk on a deserted dual carriageway
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Image caption While passengers at London Waterloo rushed to get home before the last train

Commuters ‘almost jubilant’

By BBC transport correspondent Victoria Fritz

The more normal response to this level of travel disruption would be exasperation and even anger amongst marooned passengers.

But after a week of widespread chaos, the mood in Waterloo station on Friday at rush hour is almost jubilant.

The weekend is around the corner and many of the thousands here will be granted a temporary reprieve from doing daily battle with the railways.

The biggest gripe amongst passengers is that there has been precious little information of last minute changes to schedules.

Most are understanding of the extraordinary challenges track and train operators are facing.

Station staff are out in force and briefing passengers when they can. With the weather rapidly closing in, it’s a dash for all to get home before the clock strikes 22:00 GMT.

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Media captionDr Chris Marsh on his 10-mile walk to work

Much of Wales was brought to a standstill, where routine operations were cancelled as health boards made a plea for staff to attend work. Travel conditions in Scotland remain treacherous.

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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Image caption A pub landlord in Greater Manchester battles against the snow at his front door

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Media captionIce blocks Birmingham’s canals
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Image caption But these horses braved the elements at a farm in Snetterton, Norfolk

What is happening with the trains?

Across the UK, more than 20 rail operators are running a reduced service. National Rail has been advising passengers to check their service before travelling. Some train operators urged people not to travel at all.

  • Virgin Trains is not running any services north of Newcastle on Saturday, with their route between Carlisle and Scotland – affecting the London to Glasgow and London to Edinburgh routes – closed with no replacement buses running
  • Arriva Trains Wales has said a limited service will run on Saturday and passengers have been advised only to travel if essential up until Monday morning. There are limited trains between Shrewsbury and Crewe, Crewe and Chester, Chester and Holyhead, Wrexham and Bidston and Swansea and Carmarthen
  • Great Western Railway said there will be a limited timetable with no services between Cheltenham and Paddington, and the North Downs trains have been cancelled
  • Heathrow Express services between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport will run three times an hour
  • East Midlands Trains are running a reduced timetable with no trains between Lincoln Central and Grimsby Town, and between Sleaford and Skegness
  • On the Northern network, there are no services between Leeds and Carlisle/Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester Airport, and Hazel Grove and Buxton. It warns passengers of possible timetable changes throughout Saturday
  • ScotRail aims to have several of its routes operational from early morning on Saturday but advises passengers to check before they travel
  • CrossCountry is not running trains between Birmingham and the South West and, Birmingham and Cardiff until after 09:00 GMT. No services will operate between Newcastle and Scotland and trains between Reading and Southampton/Bournemouth are not expected to run until mid afternoon
  • Southeastern railway said it will run an amended timetable on Saturday and services will start later after track inspections

How are the airports affected?

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More than 1,250 flights were cancelled across the UK and Ireland on Friday.

  • Glasgow Airport: Open after “the worst snowfall in its history” but still warns of delays and cancellations
  • Edinburgh Airport: Ryanair will resume its full schedule of flights after a day of cancellations on Friday
  • Dublin Airport: Most flights will start later on Saturday but passengers are urged to check before they travel
  • Cardiff Airport: The airport will be closed until Saturday morning
  • Bristol Airport: There were significant disruptions on Friday and passengers are advised to contact their airline before travelling
  • East Midlands Airport: After a day of cancellations and delays, the airport is expected to be fully operational
  • Leeds Bradford: The airport is open 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 was closed on Friday because of the snow and the airline advises passengers that delays and cancellations could be likely
  • Birmingham Airport: Runway unlikely to reopen before Saturday morning with travellers warned to check with their airline

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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