Winter chill brings snow and ice

Widespread disruption looks to have been avoided on transport routes across England and Wales despite significant overnight snowfall and sub-zero temperatures that show little sign of relenting.

Motorists had been warned of treacherous road conditions after more than two inches (6cm) of snow blanketed some regions and the mercury plunged to -4C.

The freezing conditions are expected to continue in the coming days with temperatures plummeting to as low as -9C – bringing an end to a week of Arctic weather that has caused chaos up and down the country.

On Thursday night snow began falling in the North and the Midlands before gradually hitting the Home Counties, East Anglia, London, the South East, the South West and Wales.

Victoria Kettley, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “The snow began around 6pm before intensifying. The heaviest falls were seen over a band covering South Yorkshire and Leicestershire with accumulations of between 5-6cm. As the evening progressed the heaviest snow spread southwards before fizzling out towards Wales and the South West.”

She added: “The overnight weather means there will be treacherous conditions on the roads this morning as the snow melts and poses the threat of widespread ice on untreated roads.”

A “yellow” severe weather warning instructing people to “be aware” of snow and ice in nearly all parts of England as well as south Wales has been issued by the the Met Office. A level three cold weather alert is also in place.

Ms Kettley said snow could return to the South West and Wales with the rest of the UK remaining dry but bitterly cold. Surrey Police advised people to take care with up to 5cm of snow expected to have fallen by the rush hour.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “A light fall of snow overnight was cleared by Heathrow’s snow team with no disruption to the airport. All flights scheduled for Thursday evening got away yesterday. A normal schedule is planned for Friday with no anticipated disruption. After clearing the snow overnight, airside teams took the opportunity to carry out two practice drills.”

Meanwhile, classic car enthusiast Tim Waddingham, 53, is thought to have drowned trying to rescue his dog from a freezing pond at a golf club in Surrey the weekend.