Flood alerts as snow starts to melt
The blanket of snow covering much of Britain is finally giving way to a rapid thaw, bringing the risk of flooding for parts of the country, forecasters said.
The latest heavy snow storms on Friday night into Saturday left hundreds of people stranded overnight as drivers on motorways in the north of England were forced to abandon their cars.
The M6 was blocked in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 in Lancashire when a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow brought drivers to a standstill, the Highways Agency said.
Many became stuck along the stretch of motorway between Wigan and Standish after struggling to make it up inclines in the treacherous conditions, while a number of accidents including jack-knifed lorries also blocked lanes.
Weather experts have now warned that milder temperatures will cause snow to thaw rapidly, with heavy rain expected to bring further flooding problems.
The Environment Agency (EA) has six flood warnings in place for south-west England, the second highest alert which means flooding is expected.
More than 100 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, were also in place across the country after the agency warned of an increased risk of surface water and river flooding.
Heavy rain combined with rapidly melting snow could cause further disruption on roads, as well as flooding to properties, the EA said.
Communities in Wales, the south west of England, the Midlands and the north of England were being urged to prepare for possible flooding.
Around 18 buildings flooded in various locations across Wales on Friday night, including two houses in Solva, Pembrokeshire and two in Dolgellau, North Wales.