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South-east England sees earliest winter snow in 15 years

The south-east of England has seen its earliest winter snowfall for 15 years as adverse weather conditions disrupted trains and caused schools to close.

Snow and ice alerts are in force for large areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with parts of the country expected to see up to 10cm of snow on Friday.

Record levels of snow have already fallen in the South-East, with Oxfordshire becoming the first part of the region to have at least a centimetre of snowfall in November since 2007.

The early arrival of wintry conditions comes as November temperatures are expected to fall to their lowest in seven years, with -10C (14F) predicted in some areas of the North-East. This could beat the 2016 low for November of -10.9C amid a widespread frost.

The lowest ever recorded temperature for England in November is -16.1C (3F) in 1912 in Cumbria.

Snow falls on St Stythians parish church, Stithians, Cornwall on Thursday 30th November
St Stythians parish church in Cornwall saw a light blanketing of snow on Thursday - Jo Shreeve

As the cold front from Scandinavia swept across Britain on Thursday, more than 30 schools in Cornwall were either closed for the day or opened late due to hazardous conditions. Commuters faced rail chaos, with East Midlands Railway services between London St Pancras and Corby cancelled and delayed because of ice.

Frost was also blamed for c2c cancellations from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex to London’s Fenchurch Street.

The Met Office has issued a snow and ice alert covering areas in north-east England, the East Midlands, the east of England, Yorkshire and Humber and parts of Scotland until 11am on Friday.

A fresh ice warning for parts of Devon and Cornwall is also in place from 10pm on Thursday until 10am on Friday.

The national weather service has warned of the likelihood of people suffering slips and fall injuries in one of the first icy periods of the winter.

It is also advising of the chance of continued disruption to road, bus and rail networks – with ice patches forming on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths.

Oli Claydon, a Met Office spokesman, said: “The cold conditions are set to remain for the remainder of this week and into the weekend. For those inland it will remain dry, crisp and cold, but showers will continue along the east, becoming more north into the weekend.”

‘It’s important to check in’

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office have issued amber cold health alerts in five regions – the East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East, and Yorkshire and the Humber – until Dec 5, meaning “cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time” in those areas.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, the head of extreme events and health protection at UKHSA, said: “With a risk of widespread overnight frosts and some snow across the country this week, it’s important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.”

He added: “If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try to heat the rooms where you spend most of your time in, such as your living room or bedroom.”

The UKHSA has advised heating rooms to at least 18 degrees and recommends trapping heat by wearing multiple thin layers rather than one thick layer.

In County Durham, police said snowy conditions had led to some crashes on the roads on Thursday.

Durham Constabulary said: “There has been the first main snowfall of the winter across the force area which has led to roads being covered in snow.

“We have already had collisions reported due to the weather. Please be careful if you need to drive this morning, drive to the conditions and allow extra time for your journeys.”

The cold snap still has some way to go to beat the coldest temperature of the year so far, -16C on March 9 in Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands.


06:47 PM GMT

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06:13 PM GMT

Some 700 passengers stranded on Eurostar for eight hours

About 700 Eurostar passengers have been stranded on a broken down train with no power or working toilets for more than eight hours.

The Amsterdam-bound service departed London St Pancras as scheduled at 8.16am but broke down around half an hour later near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in Kent.

Eurostar said the incident was caused by an overhead electric cable falling on the train.

Passengers reported that the train has no power and the toilets are not working.

On social media platform X, Eurostar described the situation onboard as “very challenging”.


04:54 PM GMT

Met Office forecast


04:11 PM GMT

In pictures: Braving the conditions

A Royal Mail van on the A68 near Edinburgh
A Royal Mail van on the A68 near Edinburgh - Phil Wilkinson
A view of Durham Cathedral from Observatory Hill
A snowman is made on Observatory Hill overlooking Durham Cathedral - Simon Woodley/Cover Images
People walk by Antony Gormley's Angel of the North as snow continues to fall in Gateshead
People walk by Antony Gormley's Angel of the North as snow continues to fall in Gateshead - REUTERS/Lee Smith
Wintry scenes in Windsor Great Park for a herd of inquisitive deer
Wintry scenes in Windsor Great Park for a herd of inquisitive deer

03:51 PM GMT

National Grid to trigger blackout scheme tomorrow

The National Grid has announced plans to pay some households to refrain from using energy for a set period of time tomorrow, in response to the freezing conditions.

Eligible households will be incentivised to cut down on electricity usage between 4.30pm and 6pm tomorrow, as part of the Live Demand Flexibility Service.

An ESO Spokesperson said: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Friday evening.”

They added: “It does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried.

“These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

The scheme is intended to prevent blackouts from occurring due to increased pressure on the network.


02:58 PM GMT

Warning to elderly and those with medical conditions

Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UK Health and Security Advisory, said: “With a risk of widespread overnight frosts and some snow across the country this week, it’s important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.”

He added: “If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat the rooms where you spend most of your time in, such as your living room or bedroom.”

The UKHSA has advised heating rooms to at least 18 degrees and recommends trapping heat by wearing multiple thin layers rather than one thick layer.


02:43 PM GMT

Cold-Health Alerts issued by UKHSA and the Met Office

The UK Health and Security Advisory and the Met Office have issued an amber cold-health alert (CHA) in England for the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands.

An amber alert signifies that cold weather is likely to be felt across the whole health service and demands a coordinated response.

The alert is currently in place from 6pm on Tuesday 28 November to midday on Tuesday 5 December, during which period the Met Office forecast average temperatures around or less than 2°C in areas under amber alert.

A yellow CHA has also been issued in the South West, South East, East of England and London.

A yellow alert indicates that there is potential impact on vulnerable populations, those with pre-existing health conditions and individuals over the age of 65.


02:00 PM GMT

Snow forecast


01:37 PM GMT

In pictures: Exercising in the snow

Snow
A group of people brave the snow to exercise in Hathersage - Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP
Weather
The countryside near Halifax, West Yorkshire, was covered in snow and frost this morning - Windmill Images / Alamy Live News
Snow
A woman and her dog enjoy in snow the in Swarland, Northumberland - Owen Humphreys/PA
Weather
A lorry navigates a snowy road in Dufftown, Scotland - Michael Traill

01:21 PM GMT

New weather warning issued

The Met Office has issued a new yellow weather warning for ice across parts of south-west England.

The warning is in force from today at 10pm until 10am tomorrow.


12:01 PM GMT

Milions of drivers ignore severe weather alerts, AA survey shows

Millions of drivers ignore severe weather alerts, a new survey suggests.

A third (33 per cent) of respondents to a poll of more than 12,000 AA members said they would go ahead with planned journeys even if a red warning for snow was issued by the Met Office.

Some 62 per cent said they would ignore amber alerts.

AA analysis of Department for Transport figures found 487 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in snowy conditions between 2017 and last year.

Nick Powell, AA patrol of the year, said: “It’s clear that many people will risk their vehicles and themselves on wintry roads - even when the worst weather is predicted.

“The AA will be out on patrol as usual but there are some simple and common sense precautions drivers need to take to avoid a winter nightmare in the first place.”


11:32 AM GMT

In pictures: Swimmer braves the cold in unheated pool

Weather
A swimmer braves the cold in the unheated lido on Jesus Green in Cambridge - Bav Media
Cold
A nordic ski team practice in a frosty Richmond Park - Alex Lentati/LNP
Snow
Wintry scenes in the village of Eastgate in County Durham - Scott Heppell/North News
Snow
A snow plough clears the roads in north Yorkshire - Jordan Crosby

11:21 AM GMT

Crashes reported in County Durham

Police in County Durham have said that snowy conditions had led to some crashes on the roads.

Durham Constabulary said: “There has been the first main snowfall of the winter across the force area which has led to roads being covered in snow.

“We have already had collisions reported due to the weather. Please be careful if you need to drive this morning, drive to the conditions and allow extra time for your journeys.”


11:20 AM GMT

Up to 10cm of snow possible

Parts of the UK could see up to 10cm of snow today, with temperatures expected to drop “well below freezing” overnight, forecasters have said.

Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, said parts of Dartmoor could potentially see 5-10cm of snow throughout the day, with other areas of the South West seeing “more modest accumulations” of one to three centimetres.

Overnight, there is expected to be widespread frost, with temperatures dropping to -8C in the rural South, and -7C in rural parts of Wales.

Mr Claydon said: “The cold conditions are set to remain for the remainder of this week and into the weekend. For those inland it will remain dry, crisp and cold but showers will continue along the east, becoming more north into the weekend.”


10:59 AM GMT

Snow in Newcastle


10:56 AM GMT

Rail chaos across UK

Rail passengers were hit by disruption today as several major routes were affected by infrastructure faults and low temperatures.

East Midlands Railway said services between London St Pancras and Corby were cancelled and delayed because of “a shortage of trains after damage caused by ice”.

Frost was also blamed for c2c cancellations from Leigh-on-Sea to London’s Fenchurch Street.

Meanwhile, Great Western Railway and Elizabeth line services between London Paddington and Reading were forced to run at a reduced speed because of a broken rail, which was expected to cause delays throughout the day.

The operator said the problem was discovered in the area around Hayes & Harlington station, west London, early yesterday, with Network Rail unable to carry out a full repair until this evening. The defect was at a set of points used to transfer trains from one track to another.

Separate points failures disrupted South Western Railway trains at London Waterloo - the UK’s busiest railway station - and Thameslink services between Sutton and Luton.


10:32 AM GMT

In pictures: Britain covered in snow

Weather
Drivers tackle an icy road in the North York Moors this morning - Andrew McCaren/LNP
Weather
A jogger battles the elements in a very frosty Windsor Great Park - Rick Findler/Story Picture Agency
Weather
The Hole of Horcum covered in snow in Yorkshire - Andrew McCaren/LNP
Snow
Red deer stag in Windsor Great Park - Rick Findler/Story Picture Agency

10:26 AM GMT

Met Office issues warning to motorists

The Met Office has warned that people in yellow weather warning areas face icy patches and hazardous conditions.

It warns that some roads and railways are likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services.

It adds that there will be some icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths, and that injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces are possible.


10:13 AM GMT

Tell us about your weather experiences


09:59 AM GMT

Pictured: Snow in Cornwall

Snow has fallen in Cornwall, as a number of schools were closed for the day.

Jo Shreeve, from Redruth, warned that the roads in the region were “treacherous”.

Cornwall
St Stythians Church in Cornwall was covered by snow this morning

09:56 AM GMT

Multiple schools closed in Cornwall

A number of schools have been closed in Cornwall as temperatures plummet. They include the following:

  • Halwin School

  • Looe Community Academy

  • Luxulyan School

  • Nine Maidens Alternative Provision Academy

  • Pencoys Primary School

  • Stithians School

  • The Roseland Academy

  • Treverbyn Academy

  • Trewirgie Infant School

  • Veryan School


09:54 AM GMT

Emergency accommodation for homeless in London

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has launched the Severe Emergency Weather Protocol as London faces freezing temperatures over the next few days.

Homeless people will be able to access emergency accommodation across the capital.


09:33 AM GMT

Temperatures plunge to -7.2C

Temperatures plunged to a low of minus 7.2C in England overnight.

The Met Office said the three lowest temperatures recorded at its observation sites overnight were all in Cumbria on Wednesday, with a low of -7.2C in Bridgefoot, -6.5C in Shap and -6.1C in Keswick.

The BBC reported that parts of the UK had their coldest November night since 2010, and that it was -8C at Aonach Mor in the Scottish Highlands.


08:58 AM GMT

Pictured: Snow in the north east

Parked cars in Gateshead are seen covered in snow
Parked cars in Gateshead are seen covered in snow - Scott Heppell
Early morning motorists navigate difficult driving conditions in Gateshead
Early morning motorists navigate difficult driving conditions in Gateshead - Scott Heppell

08:55 AM GMT

Yellow weather warnings issued

The Met Office has issued a handful of Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice across the UK.

One yellow warning - covering areas in north-east England, the East Midlands, the east of England, Yorkshire and Humber and parts of Scotland - will be active from 5pm today until 11am on Friday.

Another, affecting Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, will be in place until 4pm today.

An earlier warning remains in place until 11am today for eastern Scotland and north-east England down to North Yorkshire.

A yellow ice warning for Northern Ireland is in place until 10am today.


08:41 AM GMT

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