Belfast Telegraph

Wild, wintry weather sweeps UK

Wild and wintry weather swept the UK tonight, with heavy snow forcing Liverpool's John Lennon Airport to close temporarily.

Leek, near the Peak District in Staffordshire, saw the worst of the downpour with 10cm (4 in), the Met Office said, with Cranwell in Lincolnshire also seeing 7cm (2.75 in) as a band of wet weather crossed the country from Merseyside and north Wales through the Midlands.

Four flights into Liverpool from Malta, Berlin and Bucharest were diverted to Manchester Airport, while a fifth from the Isle of Man returned to the island's airport as the Merseyside hub was closed for more than an hour while its runway was cleared of snow, a John Lennon Airport spokesman said.

He said knock-on disruption was expected, adding: "We have had quite a deluge here."

Police warned of hazardous conditions, especially in Staffordshire and Cheshire, with several roads made impassable.

Staffordshire Police tweeted: "Reports of difficult road conditions across Staffordshire due to snow, Please only travel tonight if necessary."

Cheshire Police added: "Roads around Delamere/Frodsham looking quite treacherous due to weather, Please drive with care."

Snow had been predicted to fall in parts of North Wales, the North West and the Midlands, with a Met Office Level Three amber cold weather alert in place and a yellow warning of snow across a large swathe of the UK since this morning.

A Met Office spokeswoman said that the Pennines and Peak District had also seen plenty of snow, adding: "The snow is probably peaking at the moment.

"It should ease off over the course of the next few hours."

Scores of people went on Twitter to show where snow was falling, including John Lennon Airport, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, with reports from as far east as Cambridgeshire.

The snow made conditions difficult for some of today's football matches, including in the West Midlands as West Bromwich Albion lost 3 - 1 to Manchester City in a game played in a blizzard at The Hawthorns.

The Met Office had earlier said there was a 90% chance of severe cold, ice or snow in parts of England between this afternoon and New Year's Eve.

An area including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands, East Anglia, the North West, Yorkshire and as far south east as London and Kent has been put on a separate yellow alert for snow by the Met Office.

Christmas Night was the coldest night of the year so far, with minus 8.5C (16.7F) recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire.

Temperatures could also drop as low as minus 10C (14F) in some places at the start of next week as the cloud and wet weather gives way to clearer skies.

Leeds Bradford International Airport was also forced to close tonight.

A message on its website read: "As a result of adverse weather conditions, Leeds Bradford International Airport is presently closed.

"We recommend you contact your airline or tour operator and check the status of your flight before arriving at the airport."

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