Snow cancels trains and flights as freezing weather grips Britain

Hundreds of trains and dozens of flights have been cancelled as snow showers sweep across Britain, with warnings of more freezing weather on the way.

Up to 10cm (4in) of snow is expected on Tuesday and the Met Office is predicting as much as 20cm (8in) in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland by the end of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, there could be blizzards, gales and sleet on Thursday as Storm Emma hits the cold air already over the UK.

The wind chill, which could see parts of the country drop as low as -15C (23F), is on par with forecasts for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.

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Amid fears of heavy snow, amber warnings (indicating a possible risk to life) have been issued for northern, central, eastern and southeastern England on Tuesday, and for many parts of Scotland on Wednesday and Thursday.

A less severe yellow warning is also in place until Friday across many other areas of the UK.

The Met Office said rural communities could be cut off, with power outages and disruption to mobile phone services likely.

Most of Britain is being warned of potential delays on the roads, trains and in the air by mid-week.

More than 200 Greater Anglia trains are no longer running on Monday and Tuesday, while South Eastern passengers were told to finish journeys by 6pm on Monday to avoid disruption.

Passengers were also warned to expected delays and cancellations on c2c, London Overground, South Western Railway, Southeastern, Stansted Express and TfL Rail.

Train operator Great Northern said it would run a "heavily reduced timetable" on Tuesday.

British Airways said it had cancelled over 68 short-haul flights.

A BA spokeswoman said: "We are offering flexible rebooking options for all short-haul customers on flights to and from Gatwick and Heathrow this week due to the adverse weather conditions which are forecast."

The Ministry of Defence said it had three battalions on standby to respond to weather-related emergencies.

Public Health England has urged people to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours during the cold spell.

Members of the public have also been asked to look out for the homeless and report anyone sleeping rough in the freezing conditions to their local council.

Sky News weather forecaster Chris England said the snowfalls are set to become more severe this week.

He said: "Snow showers will continue over many eastern areas tonight, turning heavy in places, with some getting across to northwest England later.

"Parts of eastern England in particular can expect around 15cm (6in) of snow, leading to some disruption. It will be freezing everywhere.

"Tuesday morning will see snow showers developing more widely across Britain, bringing a risk of some disruption, while rain, sleet and snow showers will push into Northern Ireland and the east of Ireland. The west of Ireland will be mostly fine.

"Britain will be near freezing all day, with a bitterly cold wind. Wednesday will bring widespread snow showers, some heavy. It will be very cold, with many places not getting above freezing all day.

"Thursday will bring further heavy snow showers and the risk of more general snow in the south."