Friday 20 July 2018

Arctic conditions to cause havoc for travellers in UK

Britain set to shiver as Met Office predicts up to 10cm of snow and -13C temperatures

Soledda Hernandez stands on the roof of her car as she brushes off snow in Erie, Pennsylvania. Photo: Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via AP
Soledda Hernandez stands on the roof of her car as she brushes off snow in Erie, Pennsylvania. Photo: Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via AP

Georgina Stubbs

Sub-zero temperatures were expected to bring the coldest night of the year to Britain last night, amid warnings that more disruption-causing snow is on its way.

Arctic air hovering across the UK caused the mercury to plummet last night, with temperatures below -13C forecast for parts of Scotland.

Heavy snow is also predicted to fall today, with the Met Office issuing an amber warning in anticipation of the white stuff covering the east Midlands, North West and Yorkshire.

The Met Office warned that accumulations of up to 10cm are likely and up to 15cm could fall over higher ground.

"Travel delays on roads are likely, stranding some vehicles and passengers. Some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely," the Met Office warned.

"There is a possibility that some rural communities could become temporarily cut off. Power cuts may also occur."

Josef Jackson (7) and Corieme Preston sledging on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Josef Jackson (7) and Corieme Preston sledging on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

With the amber warning in place between 4am and 11am this morning, a wider yellow warning for snow has also been issued for southern and eastern Scotland, Northern England, and the Midlands.

Northern Ireland also has a yellow warning for ice and snow until 9 o'clock this morning.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey also warned the country could see the "coldest night of the year so far" before snow blankets the region.

"The coldest temperature we have seen this year is minus 13C in Scotland, and we are likely to see temperatures slightly below that," she added.

Passengers waiting to rebook cancelled flights at Stansted. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Passengers waiting to rebook cancelled flights at Stansted. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"But we are not talking about those extremes in the town and city centres, it is out in rural areas, more exposed areas, particularly over lying snow where you see temperatures drop the most."

The Met Office said temperatures fell to as low as -4.5C in Katesbridge, Co Down, in the early hours of yesterday while most of the UK was at freezing.

The RAC said ice caused an "incredibly busy" morning, and as a result of the conditions dealt with a number of battery failures, minor bumps and shunts, and skidding.

Meanwhile the AA described the country's roads as "appalling" due to the "dicey, icy roads".

On Wednesday there were stories of disruption, cancellations and delays at the country's travel terminals due to the weather, with Stansted temporarily closing its runway twice due to ice.

As a result, 27 inbound and 27 outbound flights were cancelled at Stansted, while around 50 flights were cancelled at Luton.

Some 300 passengers were left waiting to rebook flights at Stansted on Wednesday evening after dozens of Ryanair services were cancelled, along with a number of easyJet flights.

Meanwhile, the bitterly cold weather that has taken hold of much of the northern United States is expected to stay put for days to come.

Forecasters are warning of the risk of hypothermia and frostbite from Arctic air settling in over the central US and spreading east.

The National Weather Service reported that International Falls and Hibbing in Minnesota set record low temperatures during the current cold snap.

International Falls, the self-proclaimed 'Icebox of the Nation', plunged to 38 degrees celsius below zero, while Hibbing bottomed out at -33C.

The freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills came as people in Erie, Pennsylvania, continued to dig out from a storm that dumped more than 65 inches on the city.

Wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York.

Irish Independent

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