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UK snowbound as big freeze begins

Heavy snow has blanketed Britain as the first widespread big freeze of the winter brought dumps of up to 16cm, grounded planes and raised fears of transport chaos.

With most of the UK on amber alert, the Met Office's second highest severe weather warning, flights were cancelled and a string of sporting fixtures fell victim to the big chill.

It came after Britain shivered through the coldest night of the winter so far with temperatures plunging to minus 12.4C on Friday night.

Flurries fell over Scotland, northern England and the Midlands on Saturday afternoon before moving down to London and East Anglia. Church Fenton in North Yorkshire recorded 16cm of snow, while up to 15cm was forecast for parts of Cumbria, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, North Yorkshire, the Peak District and the Midlands.

Most parts of the country are expected to wake up to between 5cm and 10cm on Sunday morning.

A thick covering is also expected to fall on Heathrow Airport where a third of Sunday's flights have been axed amid adverse weather conditions and the possibility of freezing fog. Passengers travelling through Gatwick were warned to expect some disruption and delays, with cancellations remaining a possibility.

On the roads, motorists faced what the RAC described as a "dangerous cocktail of driving conditions" and were urged to stay at home where possible. Some minor routes closed altogether.

The Highways Agency extended its amber alert until 9am on Sunday, meaning there was a "high probability" of severe snow and a risk of difficult driving conditions.

The Met Office's amber alert in England applies to Yorkshire and Humber, the West Midlands, East Midlands, the East, the South West, London, the South East and the North West. A yellow alert, which warns people to "be aware", was in place for parts of Scotland, Wales and south-west England.

Much of England is also under a cold weather alert of level 3, which warns of "100% probability" of severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow.


From Belfast Telegraph