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Home » UK Weather: Temperatures Plunge To -12.5C As Snow Disrupts Travel

UK Weather: Temperatures Plunge To -12.5C As Snow Disrupts Travel

Media caption, Watch: Snowy and ice cause Cumbria travel chaos

By James Gregory, Louisa Pilbeam & Harrison Jones

BBC News

Temperatures have fallen below freezing across parts of the UK, with as much as 30cm of snow causing travel problems.

The mercury dropped below -12C (10.4F) in Scotland on Saturday – the coldest temperatures since March.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice have been issued for the north west of England, the Midlands, the south, and parts of Wales and Scotland.

Drivers in Cumbria told the BBC they had been in stop-start traffic with no food or water for up to 19 hours.

The Met Office said that in Altnaharra, in the Highland region of northern Scotland, it hit -12.5C on Saturday night, which is the coldest temperature recorded so far this winter.

Meteorologist Tom Morgan added that “our general estimation is that 20 to 30cm” of snow fell in southern Cumbria – but he cautioned that these were not official measurements.

A “major incident” was declared in Cumbria after Saturday’s heavy snowfall, with police urging people not to travel on Sunday unless necessary.

A number of homes in the area are also without power.

Some drivers spent the night in temporary accommodation or stuck in cars in Cumbria.

Emma Thompson, from Ulverston, slept in a Hawkshead scout hut dormitory – having been stranded after manning a chilli jam stall at the local Christmas fair.

“By 16:00 I was up to my knees (in snow),” she told BBC News.

The 54-year-old slept in a room with around ten other women, and says others in the hut stayed in a male dormitory, while the local church and school also put people up.

Mrs Thompson praised residents, who brought tea, coffee and blankets to those who were stranded – while the vicar gave them soup, and a fish and chip shop provided food.

“We’re still not going to get out for quite some time… we can hardly see my car”, she added on Sunday morning.

Image source, Emma Thompson

Image caption, Emma Thompson trying to offer some winter warmth to Cumbria residents with her chilli jam stall

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, The snow-covered peak of Beinn Eighe and Loch Droma in the Scottish Highlands

Media caption, UK weather forecast: Are we set for more snow?

Elsewhere, Ant Brett, from Essex, travelled to Cumbria for a family wedding but the conditions meant he was travelling for 19 hours.

“I’ve been stuck since 4pm on Saturday,” he told the BBC while waiting on the A595.

“I was heading up to a family wedding – it’s fair to say I didn’t make it. The cars here haven’t had any water or food supplies. I’m down to my last bit of water and having to ration it. I know the emergency services are busy but we’ve just been left here without help.”

Image source, Lillian Berry

Image caption, Heavy snow fell in Duddon Valley, Cumbria, leaving trees looking white and roofs covered in inches of snow

Image source, Anna MacMahon

Image caption, Roads have been treacherous for drivers in Cumbria

Image source, Owen Humphreys

Image caption, Snow turned Seaton Sluice in Northumberland white on Sunday

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service said it had been working through the night to rescue people from cars trapped in deep snow.

It added it was also using 4X4 vehicles to help “vulnerable people stuck in the snow as required”, and assisting at reception centres.

Paul Smith was stuck on a local road heading towards the town of Ambleside on Saturday evening after experiencing serious delays on the M6 motorway.

“The snow just came down and… the road all the way down is still blocked,” he said.

“We’re still about a mile-and-a-half from Ambleside and it’s just been like moving ten yards, stopping and moving again.”

Cumbria Constabulary said there were a various issues on the roads on Saturday night, including the M6 southbound and on the A595 between Millom and Furness.

In an update issued at midnight on Saturday, superintendent Andy Wilkinson said there were “a number of incidents” in which officers and other officials were verbally abused.

“We understand people’s frustration during this time”, he said, adding that the snow had been “much more significant” than forecast.

“However, agencies are working hard to improve the situation in Cumbria and are also facing the challenging road conditions when responding.”

National Highways said it was also dealing with a large number of stranded vehicles on Saturday evening, particularly on the M6 between junctions 38 and 40.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, Children enjoyed sledging outside beach huts in Blyth, Northumberland, on Sunday

Image source, Jason Haine

Image caption, Thick blankets of snow covered cars and streets making roads almost impassable

Image source, Danny Lawson

Image caption, Freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow greeted ramblers at the North York Moors National Park on Saturday

A Met Office yellow warning for ice across much of northern England, the Midlands and northern Wales will come into force from 17:00 on Sunday and run until midnight on Monday.

In eastern Scotland, a yellow warning for snow and ice will be in place at the same time.

Southern England, south Wales and the south-west Midlands is also the subject of a yellow warning for rain from midnight on Sunday until 18:00 on Monday.

Separately, an amber health alert for cold weather, issued by the UK Health Security Agency, is in place until 5 December for five central and northern regions in England, while a yellow warning is in place for four other regions.

The agency warned: “Cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time, with potential for the whole population to be at risk.”

Heavy snow has also been causing disruption across Europe this weekend.

Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have been hit by train and flight cancellations, with the German weather service predicting that 30-40cm of snow could fall by Saturday evening.

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