Snow forces closure of Luton covid testing centres ...but London just gets a dusting

John Dunne
·3 min read
<p>People walk early morning on a partially snow covered Parliament Hill in Hampstead</p> (Getty Images)

People walk early morning on a partially snow covered Parliament Hill in Hampstead

(Getty Images)

Covid testing centres in Luton have been closed due to snowfall while some Londoners woke up to a white dusting.

The three rapid testing centres in Hertfordshire have been shut as snow fell amid icy conditions.

Confirming the decision on Twitter, Luton Council said it would be closing the centres "for the safety of the public and our staff".

But social media users have complained of a lack of snow, with some branding the council's move "utterly embarrassing".

"Just been to the shop....more 'snow' in a snow globe!!!" wrote one Twitter user, while others said closing the testing sites was a "bizarre decision".

Luton had a rate of new COVID cases in the seven days to 11 January of 808.3, according to Public Health England data. That was down from 961.7 on the previous week.

Meanwhile some Londoners, particularly in the north of the capital woke up to snowfall.

Heavy snow fell in the Hampstead and Enfield areas while other parts got either a minor dusting or missed out completely.

A disappointed Cheryl Bell tweeted: “It is supposed to be snowing today in London so where is the snow weather reporters.”

@MyNwo joked: “Even the snow is not allowed to gather outside London in lockdown.”

Alison Romano pleaded on twitter: “Please make it snow in London I’ve had enough of this incessant rain.”

However, those lucky enough to live near Hampstead Heath were treated to a covering of the white stuff. One resident said: “It did snow hard and was beautiful. The kids were excited but it melted away alas.”

However other parts of the country have been severely hit with plunging temperatures and icy road conditions.

Temperature are expected to remain at around 0C for much of the day in the east of England, including Essex, where an amber weather alert has been issued. Between 4 and 8cm of snow are expected in the worst affected areas.

Drivers on the roads in the early hours warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One Twitter user wrote: 'Horrendous journey into London. Crashed car across carriageway north of Cherwell Services on M40. (Called police). Further south, carriageway surface dangerous with falling snow.'

Temperatures plummeted as low as -11.8C (10.8F) at Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, as the mercury took a dip in northern areas with lying snow yesterday. It was the coldest temperature recorded in England since January 31, 2019, when -13.2C (8.2F) was recorded in County Durham.

The Met Office warns some rural communities – even in the South – 'could become cut off' and that there could be further treacherous travelling conditions today.

A further yellow snow and ice warning has been issued in a band stretching from the Midlands to the top of Scotland until 6pm on Saturday.

A man jogs down a snow covered street in Catterick, North YorkshirePA
A man jogs down a snow covered street in Catterick, North YorkshirePA

The Met Office said there was a likelihood of "delays or cancellations to rail and air travel, possible travel delays on roads stranding some vehicles and passengers".

Parts of Wales and Northern Ireland will be mostly cloudy, with some bands of rain in the northern regions.

Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said: "Areas in eastern England and around the M25 could see up to 8cm of snow, especially as Saturday progresses.

"Other areas in England and Scotland will see some snowfall here and there, with Saturday being the colder of the two days over the weekend.

"Temperatures are unlikely to rise above 10C, with a lot of areas closer to freezing."