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Overnight ice warning after snow

Hundreds of schools closed, roads ground to a halt and flights were cancelled as "thundersnow" storms battered Britain today.

And the country is braced for more disruption as further sleet and snow is on the way.

Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were worst hit, with up to 9in (23cm) of snow falling in some parts.

The Arctic weather wreaked disruption for holidaymakers, with Manchester Airport forced to close both of its runways for several hours today and flights suspended at East Midlands Airport.

Glum-looking travellers at the country's third busiest airport could be seen being led back off planes carrying hand luggage while airport staff used shovels to clear the snow.

Some 300 schools closed their doors because of the storms, while more than a dozen rail services between Manchester and Yorkshire were cancelled and main roads in Durham and Yorkshire were shut.

The disruption was so severe that Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Twitter that he has asked for updates on the weather and measures taken to keep transport systems and energy supplies running.

He said: "I have asked for an update on our heavy snow contingency plans. The gritters are out and people should listen to warnings."

Northern parts of the UK were worst hit. Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire had 9in (23cm) of snow, while there was 8in (21cm ) at Glenanne in Armagh and Spadeadam in Cumbria had 5in (13cm).

Forecasters warned ice is the biggest danger overnight as snow which has fallen freezes over.

Sleet and snow storms could strike again tomorrow. And forecasters are warning that a fierce Arctic blast will sweep the country on Saturday and Sunday, bringing snow across the North, and down the south west and east coasts of England and East Anglia.

Helen Roberts, a forecaster at the Met Office, said: "Ice is going to be the main hazard tonight and we could see more snow.

"We could see some more sleet and snow coming in from the North West, the remnants of it could clip the South East and as far south as London.

"The chances are that by the time it reaches the South it will be less intense, but there could be a light dusting of snow over those areas."

Tomorrow is likely to feel less bitterly cold with fewer snow showers.

But Ms Roberts warned: "I will imagine there will be more transport problems with the ice potentially being more of a hazard than snow.

"The strength of the wind is making things feel extremely raw."

The Highways Agency warned of icy roads as temperatures plummet tonight and said its gritters would be out in force.

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