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Severe alerts as freeze continues

The treacherous weather conditions gripping Britain look set to continue with temperatures likely to plummet to -9C, forecasters have said.

As road and rail struggled with the freezing conditions, travellers were warned of dangerous driving conditions in central and northern England as small showers turn to ice.

Aisling Creevey, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather arm of the Press Association, said there were also "perfect conditions for fog" in low-lying, sheltered areas.

Six severe weather alerts were in place on Monday night as the Met Office warned that ice could be a hazard on roads and pavements across much of England.

Ms Creevey said: "Temperatures will struggle to rise from their overnight minimums. Over the next couple of nights it is going to be very chilly.

"Wales and England will see temperatures of between 0C and -2C, and Kent could see -4C. North of that, in Scotland and northern England, it will be between -4 and -6C. Tomorrow we could see -6C to -9C overnight."

England bore the brunt of the cold weather because of cold air coming in from the Continent and an area of high pressure. Scotland was slightly milder as a result of warmer air being pushed over from the Atlantic, she added.

Issuing yellow alerts, which urge people to "be aware", the Met Office warned of "risk of disruption to travel".

The RAC said it had seen the busiest February weekend in its history, with 41% more calls than usual. The worst affected area was Devon and Cornwall which had twice the usual number of call-outs. In addition, the south of England had 80% more breakdowns than usual and the West Midlands and Wales had 65% more.

A 25-mile long section of the A1 northbound was shut after a number of collisions between Allerton Park, near York, and the Catterick area.

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