Heavy snow causes UK-wide disruption

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Media captionSome rural communities could become cut off, forecasters say

Heavy snowfall has hit parts of the UK, causing road and rail disruption.

Amber weather warnings of more snow and very low temperatures are in place for Tuesday, and police say driving conditions are “treacherous” in places.

The M20 in Kent was blocked by stranded lorries, hundreds of trains are cancelled and many schools are closed.

Kent, Surrey, Suffolk and Sussex are among the worst-hit counties, seeing 5-10cm of snow, while north-east England has received up to 8cm (3in).

Temperatures dropped well below freezing overnight, with Northern Ireland, south west England and East Anglia logging figures as low as -6C.

Altnaharra in the Highlands recorded -8.5C.

The UK is experiencing what’s expected to be the coldest week of the winter, with snow sweeping westwards during Tuesday, increasingly moving into Scotland and the Midlands later in the day.

By Wednesday night, more than 20cm could have accumulated in some parts of eastern England and Northern Ireland.

BBC Weather meteorologist Gemma Plumb said: “On Wednesday and Thursday it is going to feel bitterly cold with a lot of areas seeing maximum temperatures below freezing.

“It will feel more like -10C or -14C in some parts and there will be heavy snow showers in the East, particularly in north-east England.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Parts of north-east England recorded 8cm of snowfall overnight

The wintry conditions are causing travel disruption, with problems likely to spread as the snow continues.

Overnight, rail operators ran empty trains to keep tracks clear of snow, but hundreds of services have been cancelled.

Motorists are being urged to take extra care and in worst affected areas, to only travel if really necessary.

Lincolnshire Police police said it was dealing with five collisions by 06:30 GMT, and roads were “particularly hazardous”.

North Yorkshire Police have described road conditions in some areas as “treacherous”, with areas around Harrogate and Craven particularly affected.

The A19 in North Yorkshire was closed after a crash, and some lanes on motorways are blocked due to the snow.

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Media captionFive handy winter driving tips

In north-east England, the A1231, near Sunderland, was blocked by an overturned lorry.

Merseyside Police says it has received reports of a crash on the M62 before junction 5.

Dozens of schools across the UK are closed due to the adverse weather conditions, particularly in north-east England, Yorkshire, and the South East.

Closures have also been announced in Lancashire, Anglesey and northern and eastern Scotland.

On Monday, British Airways cancelled more than 60 short flights to and from London’s Heathrow airport ahead of the bad weather.

Emergency shelters have been opened across the country as councils offer extra accommodation to the homeless during the freezing conditions.

The offer of a hot shower, clean clothes, food and a bed can help save lives, homeless charity St Mungo’s said.

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Media captionBBC Weather explains why we can expect temperatures to plummet

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