Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night


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Britain faces up to three inches of snow today amid sub-zero conditions after the country’s coldest night in seven years saw temperatures plummet beyond -14C (7F).

Up to 2.8in (7cm) in just of snow could fall in just two hours over parts of Wales and South West England tonight into tomorrow – with snowfalls of up to 4in (10cm) in nine hours, and 1in (3cm) over the rest of England.

Braemar in Aberdeenshire was the UK’s coldest spot overnight where temperatures fell to -14.4C (6.1F) – well below the previous record for the 2018/19 winter of -10.8C (12.6F) set in the same village on January 18. 

The overnight low was also Britain’s coldest night for seven years, since the -15.6C (3.9F) on February 11, 2012 at Holbeach, Lincolnshire – beating a record within that period of -14.1C (6.6F) on February 14, 2016, also at Braemar. 

Dozens of schools were closed across Britain today due to the severe
weather, with at least 20 reported as being shut in the Scottish Highlands, five in Merseyside, three in Northern Ireland and three in North Wales.   

 

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The wintry conditions leave an impressive scene this morning close to Bowes in County Durham as icicles form up to 10ft

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A couple walk through a frosty landscape with their dog near Ashford in Kent today after another sub-zero night

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Snow on the hills around Buttermere in the Lake District today as the cold snap continues to cause icy conditions

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People walk past the frozen Sefton Park Lake in Liverpool today as freezing temperatures led to further weather warnings

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A heavy frost at Wanstead Park in North East London today as the Met Office issued snow, ice and fog warnings

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Freezing fog over the River Thames in Windsor, Berkshire, this morning as the cold snap continues to cause icy conditions

All four UK countries set new records for this winter overnight with Sennybridge in Wales down to -9.3C (15.3F), Magilligan in Northern Ireland falling to -8.5C (16.7F) and Redesdale Camp in Northumberland at -10.5C (13.1F).

The freezing temperatures have led to weather warnings being issued by the Met Office for snow, ice and fog today and into Friday. Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said it had been a ‘very, very cold night’.

Where and when are the Met Office warnings?

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SOUTH WEST & WALES

AMBER – Snow

2pm today until 9pm tomorrow

ENGLAND & WALES

YELLOW – Snow & ice

 1pm today until 9pm tomorrow

NORTHERN SCOTLAND

YELLOW – Snow & ice

6pm today until 12pm tomorrow 

He added: ‘Tonight we could see similar temperatures in Scotland, but Northern Ireland, England and Wales probably won’t be quite as cold. Saturday night into Sunday could also be very cold.’

Southeastern Trains said 21 services were cancelled or altered this morning to minimise the impact of ice forming on the rails and ensure lines were clear and that it would run its ‘winter weather timetable’ tomorrow.

Meanwhile trains through South East London’s busiest interchange were delayed or cancelled during rush hour today. Signalling problems at Lewisham meant Southeastern customers suffered severe disruption. 

There are also problems on the rails affecting people heading to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airports, while passengers also faced disruption in the likes of Ipswich, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. 

Public Health England warned people to look out for friends, relatives and neighbours at risk. Officials said each winter, thousands die from illnesses linked to exposure to the cold when indoor and outside. 

PHE public health consultant Emer O’Connell said: ‘With continued cold weather forecast, now is the time to prepare and look out for those most at risk of falling ill.  

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9216072 6651849 Loch Glascarnoch in the Highlands was down to 13 6C 7 5F this mo a 80 1548924081486 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Loch Glascarnoch in the Highlands was down to -13.6C (7.5F) this morning, Sennybridge, Powys, dropped to -9.3C (15.3F), Katesbridge in Northern Ireland fell to -8.2C (17.2F) and Redesdale Camp in Northumberland was at -10.5C (13.1F)

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Daytime temperatures are remaining low across Britain today (left) and tomorrow (right) with a maximum of 8C expected

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 Snow will fall again in many parts of England today (left) and tomorrow (right), although Scotland is expecting some sunshine

This #UKSnow graphic shows where people are posting on Twitter about snow falling across the UK today      

‘If you can, check on family, friends and neighbours who are older, have heart and lung conditions or young children as all these groups are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold.’

UK train problems today 

  • Gatwick Airport: Lines blocked after communication alarm activated on a train
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow via Bathgate: Signalling fault
  • Stockport and Chester: Signalling fault
  • Hunts Cross: Points failure
  • Hyndland and Balloch: Broken down train 
  • Leamington Spa: Points failure
  • Hyndland and Balloch: Broken down train
  • Sheffield: Points failure
  • Lewisham: Signalling fault
  • West Ham and Limehouse: Speed restriction
  • London Paddington and Slough / Heathrow Airport: Points failure
  • Alexandra Palace and Welwyn Garden City: Train fault
  • Ipswich and Felixstowe/Lowestoft: Broken down train
  • Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street: Signalling fault
  • Truro and Falmouth Docks: Rail repairs

A level three cold weather alert for ‘severe weather action’ remains in place for Northern England, warning of increased health risks to vulnerable patients and disruption to the delivery of services.

Police in Surrey warned of potentially deadly conditions on the roads thanks to black ice on untreated surfaces after a lorry and two cars crashed on the M25 near Cobham just before 6am this morning.

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: ‘Gritters will be out treating our roads around the clock, but it is still important to drive to the conditions when snow is forecast. 

‘Keep your distance and reduce your speed, because even in conditions that seem normal, and where the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh grit has not been worked into the carriageway.

‘Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel.’

Manchester and Liverpool airports were brought to a standstill yesterday morning, and hundreds of schools closed across the UK – including more than 200 in Greater Manchester – due to the harsh conditions.  

Driver clears two ‘portholes’ on an iced-up windscreen

Police stopped a car today because the driver had just two small ‘portholes’ cleared on their iced-up windscreen.

A shocking photo shows how most of the windscreen was still frozen and the driver could only see through the two small gaps while driving. Officers immediately stopped the car in Eastbourne and gave strong words of advice to the driver.

They released the worrying photograph this morning to warn motorists of the dangers of driving without good visibility.

Police constable Jonathan Ivatt, from Sussex Police, said: ‘With the current cold weather we’re experiencing, it’s a timely reminder to all motorists to make sure they have all-round visibility before setting off on a journey.

‘It’s common sense to follow these simple steps. Leave extra time to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared and remember to use dipped headlights in poor visibility. The golden rule is see and be seen.’

9220434 6651849 Officers immediately stopped the driver in Eastbourne who had ju m 122 1548931608321 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Officers immediately stopped the driver in Eastbourne who had just two small ‘portholes’ cleared on their iced-up windscreen

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Goats and sheep in the frosty Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs in South East London this morning

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A woman walks her dog through a frosty Clapham Common in South West London this morning

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Snow over the rooftops of New Mills in Derbyshire this morning, close to the Cheshire border and the Peak District

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A dog walker passes a horse in the morning sun today as a frost covers the ground of Basingstoke Common in Hampshire

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A woman scrapes the windscreen to remove frost from her car in Peterborough today after the coldest night of winter

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A woman runs through a frosty landscape near Ashford in Kent today after the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far

Mr Wilson said central England and Wales could bear the brunt of the snow this afternoon and evening as wet weather coming through the South West turns wintry, with some places seeing up to 4in (10cm) of snow.

Weather advice: De-icing cars and defrosting pipes

Various organisations have provided advice for keeping safe at home and on the road during the cold snap.

– How to de-ice car windows: The RAC advises that clearing a windscreen of ice or snow should take about 10 minutes using a scraper or de-icer spray. Drivers should avoiding using boiling water to clear snow and ice. The thermal shock from 100C water can cause windows to crack, the breakdown firm says.

– How to defrost pipes: Frozen pipes can limit the water supply to homes and businesses. If your pipes do freeze, Thames Water recommends turning off the stop tap then running cold water taps to help the water escape as it begins to thaw. A hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel placed next to frozen pipes can help speed up the thawing process.

– How to clear a path: The Government suggests using salt to clear paths or pavements, and doing so early in the day, as fresh snow is easier to move. If salt is unavailable, ash and sand will also work and provide grip underfoot. Water should not be used, as it can refreeze and turn into black ice.

– What to keep in a car: The AA has a checklist of essential items drivers should keep in their cars during the winter. A blanket, a shovel, de-icer and a torch should all be carried in the winter months. In the event of severe weather, the AA also recommends carrying winter clothing, such as a hat, scarf and gloves, sturdy footwear and a flask of hot drink.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for snow between 2pm and 9pm today.

Its website states the warning covers London and South East England, the South West and Wales. Parts of Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset and south Wales will be among the most affected.

Pembrokeshire County Council said four schools would be closing early today due to the ‘forecast for snow and icy road conditions’. Ysgol y Preseli will close at 12pm, Ysgol Caer Elen and Tavernspite at 1pm and Portfield Special School in Haverfordwest at 12.30pm.

School transport has been arranged for those closures and mobilised for a further 11 schools in the area.

The Arctic grip on the weather has already caused chaos for thousands. Airport runways at Liverpool and Manchester were blocked yesterday, and roads and railways brought to a standstill. The snow also shut 400 schools across northern England and North Wales.

This morning, ice and a blanket of freezing fog was forecast to extend across England, from the Pennines to the Thames Valley. The fog could affect flights and is expected to make rush-hour driving hazardous, forecasters say.

Wintry showers were due to have brought an inch more snow overnight, particularly in north eastern England as far south as the Humber estuary.

But worse is to come, with a further band of rain, sleet and snow due to arrive from lunchtime today. It could bring up to four inches of snow to Wales and the South West.

Most of the South, along with central and eastern England, Manchester, Liverpool, and South and West Yorkshire will see smaller snowfalls.

The wintry conditions are likely to last overnight and through tomorrow, even lingering into the evening. Only the far North of England, where it is due to be fine but cold, is likely to escape.

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A jogger running by the River Avon in Bristol this morning after the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far

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An abandoned car near Gearstones in Ribblehead at sunrise in the Yorkshire Dales this morning

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A frozen notice board at the allotments in Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs in South East London this morning

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Snowy fields near Oakham in the East Midlands this morning after the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far

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Frosty ground in Berkshire this morning as the Met Office issued weather warnings for further snow and ice across Britain

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A man walks by the River Thames in Windsor this morning after the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far

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Icy roads and pavements in the Hyndland area of Glasgow this morning, with witnesses saying several people have slipped

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A frozen pond pictured today at a golf course in Enville, a village in Staffordshire between Stourbridge and Bridgnorth

The weekend is set to be mostly fine, dry and cold, though areas near the east coast could face further wintry showers. Hard frosts are expected until at least Sunday. More very cold weather is expected through next week.

If you think it’s cold here, across the pond it’s -70F! 

Before you grumble about the weather here, spare a thought for the folk of Chicago. They’ve been warned temperatures could fall as low as -70F, cold enough to bring on almost instant frostbite.

Nearly a dozen states in the US Midwest have been hit by a freezing blast that has left 83million Americans shivering. Five deaths have already been blamed on temperatures which are the lowest for a generation. 

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Windy city: Skyscrapers behind an ice-encrusted walkway by Lake Michigan this week in Chicago, Illinois

As schools and businesses closed and thousands of flights were cancelled, people were urged to stay inside because exposed skin could become frostbitten within minutes. They were also urged to avoid taking deep breaths to protect their lungs.

In Chicago, gas heaters were used to keep railway points from freezing and snow ploughs battled to keep the city’s roads clear while, next to the city, Lake Michigan turned into a vast ice rink. 

Yesterday morning, some made light of their grim commute. Footage of a man making his way down a road in Didsbury, Manchester, on skis was shared on social media.

There were two-hour traffic jams in some parts of North-West England, and railways around Liverpool were closed while ice was cleared.

Snow meant Manchester airport was closed until late morning, when one of its two runways reopened. More than 100 flights were disrupted. At Liverpool airport, 12 flights were disrupted.

Snow and ice also caused disruption in South-West England, with the A38 blocked between Whiddon Down and Okehampton, Devon, and schools closed.

There was a spate of road accidents across the country caused by treacherous roads yesterday. Motorists were warned to take extra care today and to take warm clothing, food, water and a shovel in case they become stranded. 

Meanwhile Scotland is said to be facing more than a month of bone-chilling temperatures as Siberian winds batter the country. 

A long-range forecast by the Met Office predicts weeks of sub-zero conditions and snow flurries.

Western and northern parts of Scotland remain under a yellow ‘be aware’ warning for ice, which began last night and continues until 11am today.

Overnight showers were expected to freeze on untreated surfaces, coupled with the threat from melted snow refreezing. 

Tonight, another yellow warning for snow and ice kicks in, this time for North and East Scotland, including Edinburgh.

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A person walks through an icy Allerton Cemetery near Liverpool in the snow this morning after the coldest night of winter

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A beautiful sunrise in the Mid Devon village of Culmstock today as forecasters warned of further severe weather this week 

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Sunrise this morning from Wandsworth in South London as the capital wakes up on another chilly day

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Frosty ground in Park Royal, North West London, this morning as the capital wakes up to sub-zero temperatures

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Frost sits on a car in Reading, Berkshire, this morning as the Met Office warned drivers to take extra care today

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Frosty and foggy conditions this morning in Carterton, Oxfordshire, as commuters make their way to work

Commuters use skis as Manchester is blanketed in snow

At least two people from Manchester took the weather warnings as seriously as possible, setting out on skis for their morning travel. Footage of a man making his way down a road in Didsbury by ski was shared widely on social media.

University of Manchester student Gabrielle Sanderson, 20, filmed the skier and said: ‘There were quite a few people stuck at the bus stop since the traffic was blocked up. He was getting further than the traffic so I’d say he was pretty successful.’

Others on Twitter appeared to appreciate the man’s gear too, with user @Jaycee81161715 commenting: ‘I needed them this morning.’ Photos posted later appeared to show another skier, dressed in a bright orange jacket, joining the man. 

But winter’s icy grip will tighten as freezing February gives way to an even colder March. The Met Office long-range forecast says it will stay ‘mostly cold, with frost and ice likely overnight’ between February 4 and 13.

Cold snap calls off racing

Fakenham abandoned racing today as the cold snap continues to bite around Britain.

An official announcement preceded the scheduled 7am inspection, with the Norfolk course frozen under a light dusting of snow following a -6.7C (20F) overnight low. 

A Wincanton inspection was due to take place at 8am to determine whether there will be any jumps action in Britain today – with all-weather cards at Southwell and Newcastle set to go ahead.

Prospects for Musselburgh’s Cheltenham Trials weekend card, meanwhile, appear bleak. A scheduled lunchtime inspection today for Saturday’s racing was announced. 

Chepstow has also announced an inspection today at 2pm, for tomorrow’s scheduled card. The course is currently described as ‘frozen’.

In advance of a planned inspection today, Catterick said its fixture tomorrow has been abandoned after temperatures dropped to -7C (19F) in North Yorkshire.

And from Valentine’s Day until February 28 it warns ‘cold conditions are often likely to dominate the weather’.

It adds: ‘Towards late February there is the possibility of a colder, more easterly flow developing, though the signal for this has decreased in recent days.’

The icy conditions will raise the risk of people falling on icy pavements and streets. There is also likely to be an impact on the transport network, meaning longer journey times by road and rail.

The avalanche risk in three of Scotland’s five mountain areas has been raised to ‘considerable’ following recent heavy snowfall.

Scottish travellers endured more disruption yesterday. On the roads, a gritter overturned on the A828 near Appin, Argyll. 

The driver was taken to hospital, though not badly hurt. The A85 in Argyll was shut in both directions when an HGV overturned east of Dalmally.

Emma Smith of the Met Office said: ‘Looking ahead through February, generally cold conditions are likely through the month. Things could turn even colder at the beginning of March.’

* Taken any photos of snow in Britain today? Please email pictures@mailonline.co.uk with their location *   

Which UK schools are shut due to the cold snap today? 

Dozens of schools were closed across Britain today due to the severe weather, with at least 20 reported as being shut in the Scottish Highlands, five in Merseyside and three in North Wales. Here is a list of those reported closed so far:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS (20)

Badcaul Primary

Bualnaluib Primary

Bualnaluib Primary Nursery

Dunvegan Nursery – GM

Dunvegan Primary

Durness Primary

Edinbane Primary

Gairloch High School

Gairloch Nursery – EM

Gairloch Nursery – GM 

Gairloch Primary

Kinlochbervie High School: Partially closed

Kinlochbervie Primary: Partially closed

Kinlochewe Primary

Kinlochewe Primary Nursery

Poolewe Primary

Poolewe Primary Nursery

Scourie Primary: Partially closed

Shieldaig Primary

Shieldaig Primary Nursery

WEST WALES (4)

Ysgol y Preseli – closing at 12pm

Portfield Special School, Haverfordwest – closing at 12.30pm 

Ysgol Caer Elen – closing at 1pm

Tavernspite – closing at 1pm  

NORTH WALES (3)

Treuddyn, Ysgol Terrig

Treuddyn, Ysgol Parc y Llan

Flint, Ysgol Croes Atti 

NORTHERN IRELAND (3)

St John the Baptist Primary School Belleek

St Mary’s High School Belleek

St Mary’s Primary School Brookeborough

MERSEYSIDE (5)

Clare Mount Specialist Sports College

Gilbrook School

Prenton High School

Kilgarth High School

Abbot’s Lea School

Someone’s having a ball at least! Manchester Airport worker blithely rolls snowball… while fellow staff clear runway as deep freeze grounds flights

Their airfield team had been working hard through the night to try to keep the runways clear as heavy snow fell.

But one worker at Manchester Airport was clearly intent on having at least a bit of fun, as she was seen rolling a snowball with her feet next to a Ryanair plane.

The moment was caught on camera by a passenger in the terminal yesterday, who tweeted: ‘Everyone is working really hard to clear the runway. Except this person.’

9224342 6651849 This worker at Manchester Airport was clearly intent on having a a 52 1548937906734 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

This worker at Manchester Airport was clearly intent on having at least a bit of fun yesterday

The Twitter user, called ‘Chloe’, also posted that the worker was ‘just having a bit of fun, as am I’, adding: ‘This is just a funny observation – nothing meant by it!’

Flights were delayed and cancelled yesterday as heavy snow fell over the Greater Manchester area, which also resulted in more than 210 schools being closed.

The airport said yesterday: ‘Our airfield team has been working through the night to keep the runways clear, which resulted in the day’s operations starting as planned.

‘However, as conditions worsened significantly (yesterday) morning, we took the decision to temporarily close our runways.’

9224356 6651849 Heavy snow caused major disruption at Manchester Airport yesterd a 54 1548937906736 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Heavy snow caused major disruption at Manchester Airport yesterday morning

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Planes grounded at Manchester Airport yesterday due to the snow and ice in the North West

One of its runways was reopened by 10.30am yesterday, but customers were still advised to check the status of their flight with the airline.

Officials worked to ‘mitigate the challenging conditions and hope to minimise further impacts’. The airport has been contacted for comment about the video.

Overnight into today, the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far – and its coldest temperature in seven years – as temperatures plunged to -14.4C (6.1F).

The freezing temperatures have led to weather warnings being issued by the Met Office across the country for snow, ice and fog today and into tomorrow.

At least someone’s enjoying the snow! Excited dog enjoying winter walkies is among latest snaps by MailOnline readers during Britain’s big freeze 

While the snow and ice has presented many hazards for motorists and brought travel chaos, some people have managed to take advantage of the conditions. 

And these photographs sent in by MailOnline readers show how dogs have loved having a chance to play in the white stuff – which has left cobwebs frosted over.

Others have sent in impressive pictures of snowy and icy landscapes across Britain, from Northern Ireland to Manchester, and Glasgow to Yorkshire.

It comes after the UK had its coldest night of the winter so far – and its coldest temperature in seven years – as temperatures plunged to -14.4C (6.1F).

The freezing temperatures have led to weather warnings being issued by the Met Office across the country for snow, ice and fog today and into tomorrow. 

9220858 6651849 Gosia Bogalecka sent in this impressive picture of a frozen cobw a 2 1548935912833 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Gosia Bogalecka sent in this impressive picture of a frozen cobweb in Nottingham

9220856 6651849 Rona Hamilton pictured Bracken the Labrador in the snow at Mugdo a 3 1548935912839 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Rona Hamilton pictured Bracken the Labrador in the snow at Mugdock Loch in Stirlingshire

9221236 6651849 Marie Lineham sent in this picture of two children in a snowy sc a 5 1548935912932 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Marie Lineham sent in this picture of two children in a snowy scene in Timperley, Cheshire

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Frosty ground at Harbour Hill in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, in a photo by Tara Mulholland

9220850 6651849 MailOnline reader Martin Dawe took this picture of Murphy the ho a 10 1548935912951 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

MailOnline reader Martin Dawe took this picture of Murphy the horse in the snow

9221240 6651849 A dog goes exploring in the Peak District snow near the Derbyshi a 11 1548935912952 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

A dog goes exploring in the Peak District snow near the Derbyshire village of Chinley

9220852 6651849 Marta Rosa said she had one happy springer spaniel on a morning  a 14 1548935912956 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Marta Rosa said she had ‘one happy springer spaniel’ on a morning walk in -6C Perth, Scotland

9221232 6651849 Snow has fallen across Oldham in Greater Manchester as shown in  a 16 1548935912957 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Snow has fallen across Oldham in Greater Manchester, as shown in this picture from Surab Ali

9220864 6651849 MailOnline reader Vicky Dempster sent in this picture of an icy  a 18 1548935912970 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

MailOnline reader Vicky Dempster sent in this picture of an icy road in Hyndland, Glasgow

9221244 6651849 Stephanie Quinn pictured snow on the M6 motorway running from th a 20 1548935912977 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Stephanie Quinn pictured snow on the M6 motorway, running from the Midlands to Scotland

9220854 6651849 Imran Ahmed photographed the frozen Leeds and Liverpool Canal in a 22 1548935912988 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Imran Ahmed photographed the frozen Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Blackburn, Lancashire

9220838 6651849 Jill Allen photographed Emley Mast in the fog at Shelley in Hudd a 24 1548935912991 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Jill Allen photographed Emley Mast in the fog at Shelley in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 

9220830 6651849 Frozen trees and bushes in Buckinghamshire this morning as pictu a 26 1548935913004 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Frozen trees and bushes in Buckinghamshire this morning, as pictured by reader Alice Vranch

9220846 6651849 A frozen landscape at Lawley in Telford Shropshire was photograp a 28 1548935913007 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

A frozen landscape at Lawley in Telford, Shropshire, was photographed by David Bench

9220848 6651849 Sian Sturdis photographed frosty ground at sunrise this morning  a 29 1548935913008 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Sian Sturdis photographed frosty ground at sunrise this morning in Arnos Park, North London

9220836 6651849 A beautiful scene of snow in Leek Staffordshire was photographed a 31 1548935913019 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

A beautiful scene of snow in Leek, Staffordshire, was photographed by Guy Morris

* Taken any photos of snow in Britain today? Please email them to pictures@mailonline.co.uk with their location*  

Rail chaos for thousands as trains into four major stations are cancelled or delayed with London commuters stuck in carriages ‘with no heating’ despite freezing weather

By LARA KEAY FOR MAILONLINE 

London commuters faced a hellish journey to work this morning after trains to and from four of the capital’s major stations were delayed or cancelled. 

Passengers travelling on trains into London Liverpool Street, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge complained of services running late and without heating on one of the coldest days in Britain for years.     

Thousands were already bracing themselves for problems after temperatures dropped as low as -11C overnight. 

Police in Surrey warned of potentially deadly conditions on the roads after a lorry and two cars crashed on the M25 near Cobham. 

The chaos started on the Liverpool Street line at 8pm yesterday, leaving some forced to cope with 12 hours of disruption – and difficult journeys to and from work.  

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London commuters are facing a hellish journey to work this morning after all trains to and from Liverpool Street were cancelled or delayed. File image used  

The disruption comes after overhead wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green in east London were damaged overnight, creating major problems on Greater Anglia, London Overground, TfL Rail and Stansted Express trains. 

UK train problems today 

  • Gatwick Airport: Lines blocked after communication alarm activated on a train
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow via Bathgate: Signalling fault
  • Stockport and Chester: Signalling fault
  • Hunts Cross: Points failure
  • Hyndland and Balloch: Broken down train 
  • Leamington Spa: Points failure
  • Hyndland and Balloch: Broken down train
  • Sheffield: Points failure
  • Lewisham: Signalling fault
  • West Ham and Limehouse: Speed restriction
  • London Paddington and Slough / Heathrow Airport: Points failure
  • Alexandra Palace and Welwyn Garden City: Train fault
  • Ipswich and Felixstowe / Lowestoft: Broken down train
  • Lichfield Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street: Signalling fault
  • Truro and Falmouth Docks: Rail repairs

Problems on the Cannon Street line were the result of signalling failures at Hither Green and Lewisham, but were resolved by around 10am. 

Train bosses confirmed lines into Liverpool Street had re-opened just after 6.30am, but passengers should expect knock-on delays from last night throughout morning rush hour. 

A broken down train at Marks Tey station caused further line blockages and delays.   

People hoping to fly from Stansted and Southend Airports could struggle to make their flights as a result of the delays, with black ice on the roads as well.  

Liverpool Street commuters are being advised to use their tickets on London Underground, London Overground, Greater Anglia, London Buses and c2c to complete their journeys.

The motorway crash near Junction 9 of the M25 happened just before 6am, causing further chaos for drivers on their way into work.  

On the M25 crash, which is causing tailbacks for miles, Surrey Police tweeted: ‘Please be careful on roads this morning, the very cold night has left #ice & #blackice on untreated surfaces.’ 

9217850 6651849 Police in Surrey warned of potentially deadly conditions on the  a 36 1548939193381 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

Police in Surrey warned of potentially deadly conditions on the roads after a lorry and two cars crashed on the M25 near Cobham (tailbacks pictured) 

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Network Rail added engineers had completed repairs to the wires around Liverpool Street at around 4.30am and train operators were working to clear stranded trains from the lines. 

A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘We apologise for the disruption to services from London Liverpool Street yesterday evening. 

‘This was due to damaged overhead line equipment in Bethnal Green area.

‘Our teams worked throughout the night to get passengers moving again. 

‘All lines have now reopened, but we would advise passengers to check before they travel as there are some knock-on delays.’

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Hither Green Station in south east London experienced signalling failures this morning causing knock-on delays and cancellations into Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge

A social media spokesman for Southeastern Railway said on Twitter: ‘A fault with the signalling system at Lewisham is causing disruption to trains to and from this station.

‘Services running through this station may be cancelled, delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until 08:00.

‘Trains between Orpington, Sevenoaks & London are unable to stop at Lewisham as the signalling problem affects the route used by these trains to run to and from Lewisham station.

‘Stopping services between Tunbridge Wells and Charing Cross or Cannon Street may also be altered to reduce congestion near Lewisham caused by extra train using the lines that avoid the station.’ 

Could you break your windscreen wipers in the snow? Drivers warned they face expensive repair bills if they make this common winter error…

By ROB HULL FOR THISISMONEY.CO.UK

With Britain being hit by an arctic blast this week, motorists are being told to take special precautions on the road in order to stay safe.

There are also warnings about damage you could be doing to your car with one innocuous mistake when it snows.

By making this relatively small error with your window wipers, many drivers could face pricey repair bills in the region of £400. 

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Simple mistake: Drivers are being told not to make this common error when trying to clear snow from their car, like this Volvo in North Yorkshire, where up to 10cm of snow could fall on higher ground as temperatures drop across the UK this week

Trico, which claims to have been producing vehicle window wipers for 102 years, says motorists are running the risk of expensive repair work if they use their wiper blades to remove a heavy layer of snow that has settled on the screen following a flurry.

Many are tempted to let the wipers clear the windscreen for them, rather than embracing the chilly conditions to shift the snow by hand using a scraper. 

Choose to neglect this advice and it can prove costly. 

Trico explained to This is Money that the weight of the snow and slush sitting on top of the blades and glass is heavy for the wipers to move.

When you activate the blades with the switch in the car, the additional strain on the motor and mechanism from the weight of the snow can cause one of a series of linkages in the wipers to break. 

As a result, sometimes the stud at the end of the wiper arm gets stripped, or there’s damage to the linkage pivot balls.

Owners of models fitted with automatic wipers, which activate when sensors identify rain or snow on the screen, have also been urged to leave their window wipers in the manual setting during this period of snowfall.

How costly could it be to use your wipers to clear snow? 

Wiper blades aren’t hugely expensive, in the grand scheme of things.

Halfords sells them for anything between £3 and £39. 

However, it could get costly if there is damage caused to the wiper transmission.

Car maintenance experts MotorEasy said this kind of repair costs, on average, £414 including parts, labour and VAT.

In some cases it can be up to £730, it said.

Senior product and brand manager at the wiper manufacturer, Sam Robinson, explained: ‘Of all the parts of a car which are subject to wear and tear, windscreen wipers are perhaps the most fragile. 

‘Manufactured from thin rubber, they are designed to operate smoothly on the windscreen without damaging the surface of glass, yet despite their fragility they are often required to work under the harshest weather conditions, particularly in the height of winter.’

He recommends that motorists always use scrapers to remove snow, and adds that wipers should also not be used to clear settled ice. 

‘Using your wipers to try and de-ice your windscreen can severely damage the wiper blade itself, and trying to remove snow that has settled on the windscreen can overload the entire arm and wiper motor, potentially causing the linkage to snap or the wiper motor to burn out.’

9140996 6651849 A three wheel Reliant Robin in the snow off the A6 near the vill a 35 1548939108919 - Britain braces itself for 10-hour snow blizzard after coldest night

A three-wheel Reliant Robin in the snow off the A6 near the village of Shap, Cumbria

He added: ‘Severely worn or damaged blades can also damage a car windscreen which will, in turn, be costly to a motorist. 

‘Any damage, even slight, to the glass directly in the line of vision of the driver is likely to mean an MOT failure. 

‘Replacement glass costs considerably more than a pair of wiper blades.’

And he’s right. The average windscreen replacement costs between £150 and £200, depending on the vehicle. 

Plenty of motor insurance policies cover damage to glass, though making a claim is likely to cost you a no-claims discount and could push premiums higher.

Mr Robinson concluded: ‘Once you have effectively cleared snow and ice from the windscreen, your wipers can be used as normal whilst either raining or snowing and will help keep you seeing clearly whilst driving throughout winter.’

The rules about snow on your car 

The Highway Code Rule 229 states you must be able to see at all times while driving, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows, as well as what might fall off into the path or on other road users. 

However, motorists commonly neglect the rule, and run the risk of causing an accident due to a lack of visibility.

A tweet sent by Northern Polic`e on Tuesday showed one motorist’s car being driven on the A9 at Thurso, Caithness, in the Highlands in the early hours with a fraction of the windscreen cleared of snow:

The car’s rear and side windows were completely covered with snow while only a small area had been cleared on the front windscreen.

Police issued the driver with a fixed penalty notice and warned other motorists to clear snow and ice from their vehicles before setting off.

They posted pictures of the snowy car on social media and said: ‘Winter has been biting for most of us this week, which means it is more important than ever that your vehicle is suitably prepared for the roads.

Failure to comply with the Highway Code rule can result in £60 fine and 3 points on your licence if you’re caught with snow obstructing visibility out of any vehicle windows.  

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