An amber snow warning has been issued until midnight on Saturday in Cumbria after snow blanketed northwest England, as the Met Office warned of ice in London ahead of sub-zero temperatures overnight.
Cumbria Police has advised drivers to only travel if necessary, particularly those “considering travelling in the South Lakes and Millom area”, after the Met Office issued an amber snow warning between 12.43pm and midnight on Saturday.
The force declared a “major incident” because of heavy snowfall on the county’s roads.
Superintendent Andy Wilkinson said: “Agencies across Cumbria are working together in response to the impact that heavy snowfall is continuing to have on the county’s roads.
“We are working at pace, to help clear roads so those currently affected can get moving.
“I would urge anybody considering travelling in Cumbria tonight, to only do so if necessary. The cold temperatures forecast will make road conditions even more difficult.”
— Harrison Ward | Fell Foodie (@FellFoodie) December 2, 2023
Meanwhile a yellow weather warning of ice has been issued from midnight on Saturday until 8am on Sunday for London, the East of England, the West Midlands and parts of South Wales.
The Met Office warned that areas of rain or sleet falling on frozen surfaces may lead to icy conditions and some injuries may result from slips and falls.
It added: “Rain or sleet is expected to spread from west to east across the area overnight, falling on to frozen surfaces and leading to icy patches, perhaps even where treatment has been applied.”
Possible outbreaks of rain and sleet are forecast overnight in London, with a minimum temperature of -1C.
Spells of rain continue on Sunday making for a cloudy and chilly end to the weekend, although temperatures will rise slightly to a high of 7C.
The Met Office said Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland regions of Scotland were likely to see the lowest temperatures on Saturday night, with -12C possible in some valleys in these regions.
In Cumbria the forecaster said 10 to 15cm of snow is possible in some areas before showers begin to ease overnight.
A591 in Ambleside at a standstill heading South. Car parks getting full with most abandoning journeys.
Not seen snow on the ground like this in the 8 years I've lived here. #Cumbria #cumbriaroads #ambleside @ITVborder pic.twitter.com/dGnSuex6QO
— Harrison Ward | Fell Foodie (@FellFoodie) December 2, 2023
Frequent snow showers will bring further disruption to transport and infrastructure in the north west of England, it added.
There is a “good chance that some rural communities could become cut off” and power cuts were likely, with the potential for other services, such as mobile phone coverage, to be affected.
Met Office chief meteorologist Jason Kelly said: “Snow could be heavy at times across Cumbria with the odd rumble of thunder… 10-15cm of snow is possible before showers begin to ease overnight.
“A low pressure system will bring less cold but more unsettled weather for southern parts of the UK from tonight onwards, although northern areas will continue (to be) cold with wintry showers and sharp overnight frosts.
“Many areas of England and Wales can then expect spells of rain for the start of next week, which could be heavy at times with a risk of flooding. Some higher hills across parts of North Wales and northern England could see further snow.”
— Met Office (@metoffice) December 2, 2023
Cumbria Police said it was aware of multiple reports of vehicles being stuck in traffic in the South Lakes area because of the weather conditions.
In a post on social media, Cumbria Police said: “A multi-agency response is ongoing to minimise the challenges that heavy snowfall is continuing to have on the county’s road network.”
In Scotland, Glasgow Airport temporarily suspended all flights on Saturday morning, with the transport hub posting on X, formerly Twitter, at 7.24am that it was doing so because of “heavier than forecast snow”.
At 10.20am, the airport posted: “Our runway is now fully operational again and we are working with our airline partners and their handlers to resume flight schedules.”
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice from 6pm on Saturday to 12pm on Sunday covering much of the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and North West of England, and North and Central Wales.
The weather service said that while not everywhere will see accumulating snow, some places will likely see 1-3cm, with 5-10cm possible over some hills and mountains in Wales, the Peak District and South Pennines.
It warned that some roads and railways are likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train.
The forecaster also said there will probably be icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths, resulting in “some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces”.
The mercury dropped to minus 11C in Aviemore in the Highlands overnight and the Met Office also recorded minus 10C in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire on Saturday morning.
Temperatures are tipped to continue to fall over the weekend, with several sporting events cancelled.
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said it will be minus 3C or minus 4C for many towns and cities on Saturday.
She said: “There’ll… be some snow showers continuing across south-western Scotland throughout Saturday morning, mainly falling over the high ground above one or 200 metres, but there could be some sleetiness to lower levels across parts of the Lake District, for example, by lunchtime.
“Elsewhere, though we’ll see the mist and fog slowly clear, it could remain quite murky for a lot of the morning across central and eastern areas.
“The best sunshine will be across northern areas of Scotland, but further south and west, you can see things starting to change a little bit (by Saturday afternoon) with a greater risk of some showers.”
As winds shift to more south-westerly, temperatures should slowly rise through Saturday, feeling a little less cold in the South West.
“Elsewhere, though still feeling bitterly cold, not much above freezing,” she added.
“Those showers in the South West then do push further inland throughout Saturday night, and as they bump into the colder air, they could bring some snow to parts of Wales and central areas such as the Peak District, for example.
“There is a little of uncertainty with that one, but it’s only likely to bring a little dusting of snow by Sunday morning.”
The forecaster said the areas with the most snow on Friday were Aviemore in Inverness-shire with 5cm, Albemarle in Northumberland and Bingley in West Yorkshire with 2cm, and Loftus, Cleveland, with 1cm.
There was disruption to trains in the west of Scotland, with operator ScotRail posting: “The snow is affecting some signalling systems and staff are working as quickly as possible to rectify these just now.”
Crewe’s match with Bristol Rovers in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday has been called off and rearranged for December 12, with the playing surface deemed unsafe.
A number of Scottish league matches were also postponed, including Dundee United’s trip to Morton and the game between Ayr and Arbroath at Somerset Park.
Saturday’s high-profile racing fixture at Newcastle, which was due to stage the return of the Constitution Hill, has been abandoned due to snow on the track.
The UK Health Security Agency 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 December 5, meaning “cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time”.