Black Ice Monday: Britons face travel chaos as cold weather grips

Thousands face traffic chaos (Rex)

Falling temperatures, ice and heavy snow are causing traffic chaos and dangerous conditions across the UK on what been dubbed ‘Black Ice Monday’

Roads, trains and planes will all be affected by the wintry weather as thousands face difficult commutes and flights are cancelled.

Snow has turned to ice in many areas where schools have been forced to shut, but forecasters warn that the worst is yet to come, with temperatures set to fall again.

Temperatures could fall as low as -15C in some areas of the country tonight — making it colder than Russia — resulting in more icy conditions.

The forecast of continued bad or worsening weather has caused airports to cancel flights.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “It was chilly in Chillingham Barnes, but it wasn’t the coldest night of 2017 – that was Saturday night when temperatures went down to -12.4C. We could well beat that tonight.”

But where is worst affected today?

Up to six inches of snow fell some areas of the West Midlands, one of the worst-hit areas, as flights out of Birmingham Airport were suspended.

Police say lane three on the M42 in the West Midlands, between junctions 1 and 3, and lane three on the M5 between junction 4a and junction 3, are impassable, with only lanes one and two running on both motorways.


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And, as a result of the snow and freezing conditions, Birmingham City Council has been forced to cancel all council-run school and related transport services on Monday, the authority said.

More than 100 schools will be closed in Shropshire today.

National Rail said poor weather conditions are affecting travel across England and Wales. Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western, and Virgin Trains will all be affected, while East Midlands Trains customers are being advised to check their trains are running before setting off.

Yellow weather warnings have been issued in three regions

In Wales, 71 schools are closed in Flintshire, 11 in Wrexham and 49 in Denbighshire.

More than a foot of snow fell in Sennybridge, which saw 32cm (12.5 inches) on Sunday.

Western Power Distribution said engineers worked through the night as they aimed to restore power to 10,000 home in the Midlands, South Wales and South West.

SSE said they restored power to 48,000 customers on Sunday and that 2,900 remained without power as of 11pm on Sunday night.

A dog walker makes their way through the snow in Cambridgeshire (Rex)

Dozens of flights are showing as cancelled at Heathrow – with the airport saying the disruption is “due to crew and aircraft being out of position”.

British Airways confirmed it has reduced its flight schedule from Heathrow due to the forecast of continued bad weather.

Passengers are being advised to check the flight status before they travel to the airport.

The slip road to Stansted airport on the M11 eastbound was closed overnight for carriageway treatment due to freezing temperatures, according to Highways England.

Transport for London said there was a good service on the network, but warned that some services may be affected later.

In the south-west, more than 200 schools will be closed in Gloucestershire today.

North East
At the weekend, the temperature drop as low as -11.6C (11F) in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland.

The region has avoided some of the worst snowfall, but conditions did result in an  collision took place at about 8pm between the Wolviston and Billingham turn off on the A19 southbound in County Durham.

It is thought that the road will be closed until at least midnight between the junctions for the A689 and A1027.

People enjoy a walk in the snow near Muir of Ord where the temperature today was -11.5C (Rex)

A new yellow weather warning has been issued for much of Scotland, where temperatures are well below freezing and snow has fallen, particularly in the Highlands. 

Seven flights have been cancelled at Edinburgh airport, while Manchester airport has 13 departures listed as cancelled.

Pete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said they are expecting 11,000 breakdowns on Monday, a figure which is 20 per cent above the seasonal norm.

“I think the big thing is people are not going to leave enough time.  Journeys will take two to three times longer.

“It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions.”

He said low overnight temperatures could cause black ice and urged people to drive slowly, leaving plenty of space between them and the car in front.

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