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Air passengers ‘stranded’ as ice warnings issued for swathes of UK

More disruption is expected after sub-zero night for most of UK.

Plunging temperatures are expected to cause more problems for road and air travellers on Thursday as a result of widespread ice.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of ice for large parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland after snow brought major disruption and power outages to swathes of the UK on Wednesday.

There were reports of passengers being “stranded” at Stansted Airport on Wednesday evening after hundreds were left waiting to re-book tickets on dozens of flights which were cancelled due to bad weather earlier in the day.

Airport officials were on standby with beds and blankets for anyone who was unable to get home or find accommodation as they attempted to clear the backlog.

Disruption to flights is expected to continue on Thursday as planes will require de-icing, with London Luton urging passengers to check with their airlines before travelling.

Sub-zero temperatures are expected widely across the UK overnight, with the mercury expected to plunge as low as minus 10C (12F) in parts of Scotland and Wales.

Two yellow warnings for ice covering parts of the country are in place until 11am, with road users being warned of treacherous conditions on untreated surfaces.

Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said: “The warning for southern parts of the UK is largely as a result of the rainfall and snow on Tuesday night and through Wednesday.

“The wet surfaces – which are rain or snow – are likely to freeze overnight.

“There is a separate ice warning for the north and west of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland, mainly for showers falling onto sub-zero roads, so there is a reasonably widespread risk of ice overnight.

“Roads and pavements will be slippery so if you are walking it could be treacherous, similarly it will be treacherous on the roads that have not been treated or were treated but showers have washed salt away,” Ms Roberts said.

On Wednesday the RAC said it saw a 15-20% spike in call-outs compared with this time last year, while an AA spokesman said it had dealt with 8,000 breakdowns by lunchtime, which was “significantly more than a normal Wednesday in winter”.

There were similar stories of disruption, cancellations and delays at the country’s travel terminals, with Stansted temporarily closing its runway twice due to ice.

As a result 27 inbound and 27 outbound flights were cancelled at Stansted, while around 50 flights were cancelled at Luton.

Some 300 passengers were left in the terminal at Stansted waiting to rebook flights on Wednesday evening after dozens of Ryanair services were cancelled, along with a number of EasyJet flights.

Figures from Western Power Distribution and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks showed around 14,000 homes were left without power on Wednesday morning.

Despite the ice risk, skies are expected to clear for most parts on Thursday, although it will remain cold with temperatures reaching between 2C (37F) and 5C (41F).

The latest bout of wintry weather to hit the UK comes around a fortnight after hundreds of schools were closed, homes were left without power, and travellers were stranded or forced to stay indoors when a deep freeze gripped the UK.

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