Snowflake Britain shuts down with Christmas light switch-ons cancelled

Snowflake Britain shuts down: South East and London lightly dusted but trains are delayed, children’s football matches cancelled and Christmas light switch-ons abandoned – as winter officially begins with -12C chills

  • LNER trains between York and Edinburgh are delayed ‘due to severe weather’
  • Christmas lights switch-on in Portsmouth cancelled amid ‘low temperatures’ 

Snowflake Britain began to grind to a halt today as flurries fell across the country after winter officially began following Britain’s coldest night in nine months.

Events such as Christmas lights switch-ons, winter vaccination services, community health buses and children’s football matches were cancelled across the UK.

LNER said trains between York and Edinburgh were delayed ‘due to severe weather’, while Southeastern commuters faced disruption in Kent after ice stopped trains getting electricity from the third rail between Dover Priory and Canterbury East.

Portsmouth City Council said its Christmas lights switch-on party on Cosham High Street had been cancelled due to ‘rain, wind and low temperatures’ which were ‘enough to make the stage unsafe for children and professionals to perform’.

A winter vaccination bus at Prestonpans in East Lothian was cancelled ‘due to weather conditions’, while a community health bus in Newcastle and a rural advice bus at Stokesley in North Yorkshire were also both axed because of the conditions.

In North West London this morning, people reported seeing snow fall in West Hampstead, Queen’s Park and Highgate as temperatures dropped below freezing.

Later, nearly one inch (2cm) of snow is expected along the east coast of England from north Northumberland down to Kent between 5pm today and 10am tomorrow.

A Met Office warning, also covering northern Scotland, said wintry showers will hit coastal districts and will likely fall onto frozen surfaces in places allowing icy patches to form. Showers will fall as snow inland, with accumulations chiefly over hills.

Snow falls over the village of Princetown at Dartmoor National Park in Devon this morning

Icy conditions on the A68 road in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, today amid snowfall 

A woman pushes her pram through snowfall in Queen’s Park, North West London, this morning

A truck travels along the A939 at Grantown-on-Spey in the Scottish Highlands this morning

Families use a sledge to go on the school run today in the snow in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Snow on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside today as wintry weather hits Britain

A Met Office weather warning for snow and ice will run from 5pm tonight until 10am tomorrow

A separate weather warning for snow and ice expired at 11am today for most of the UK’s eastern coast, stretching from the Scottish Highlands down to Essex. 

Where are the Met Office weather warnings in place? 

  • Northern Scotland – 5pm today until 10am tomorrow
  • East coast of England – 5pm today until 10am tomorrow
  • South West Scotland – 5pm today until 11am tomorrow

Forecasters said up to 2in (5cm) of snow could fall over higher ground in that area this morning, and up to 0.8in (2cm) is possible inland from the Humber northwards.

Further ice warnings were also imposed in South West England and Northern Ireland today amid concerns people could slip over on pavements. Both expired at 10am.

Temperatures dropped to -9.4C (15.1F) at Shap in Cumbria this morning, making it Britain’s coldest night since mid-March. Yesterday brought the coldest November night for seven years when Santon Downham in Suffolk fell to -6.6C (20.1F).

As meteorological winter officially began today, the Met Office said a low of -10C (14F) was possible tonight in Scottish glens where there is snow cover while it could even fall to -12C (10F) tomorrow night. That would be even colder than Moscow which is due to drop to -9C (16F) tonight. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan activated a ‘severe weather emergency protocol’ to open accommodation to rough sleepers amid sub-zero temperatures in the capital. And Cornwall Council also enacted its own severe weather protocol for the homeless .

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It is officially snowing in London #snow #london #christmas #vegemite #christmas #foryoupage #london


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Toolstation told MailOnline week-on-week sales of smart heating products such as smart panel heaters were up 323 per cent.

Millions of drivers ‘ignore weather alerts’ 

Millions of drivers ignore severe weather alerts, a survey suggests.

A third (33 per cent) of respondents to a poll of more than 12,000 AA members said they would go ahead with planned journeys even if a red warning for snow was issued by the Met Office. Some 62 per cent said they would ignore amber alerts.

AA analysis of Department for Transport figures found 487 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in snowy conditions between 2017 and last year.

Nick Powell, AA patrol of the year, said: ‘It’s clear that many people will risk their vehicles and themselves on wintry roads – even when the worst weather is predicted.

‘The AA will be out on patrol as usual but there are some simple and common sense precautions drivers need to take to avoid a winter nightmare in the first place.’

He said this included allowing extra time for journeys and  properly de-icing the vehicle’s windows as well as clearing snow from the lights.

Portable heating products like oil filled radiators and convector heaters have climbed 202 per cent. 

Sales of radiator valves were up 73 per cent, radiators up 46 per cent and boilers up 115 per cent.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office have issued amber cold health alerts in five regions – the East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber – until next Tuesday.

This means ‘cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time’.

Hilly areas including the North York Moors and parts of Scotland will see more snow today, forecasters said.

Met Office spokesman Tom Morgan said -8C (18F) to -10C (14F) was possible tonight.

He said: ‘It could possibly reach -12C (10F) very locally on Saturday and Sunday nights, again in the Scottish Highlands, [and] -9C (16F) to -10C (14F) is possible in northern England on Sunday night.’

This morning brought another widespread frost, with overnight temperatures expected to drop as low as -6C (21F) in South West England, -8C (18F) in Wales and -10C (14F) in parts of Scotland.

Met Office meteorologist Ellie Glaisyer said: ‘For most of us it will be dry and bright. There will be some wintry showers over the hills.

‘There could be 0.8in (2cm) to 2in (5cm) of snow for areas 330ft (100m) to 650ft (200m) above sea level, with rain falling at lower levels, particularly Northern Ireland and western Scotland.

‘The North York Moors and parts of Scotland will likely get snow. There will be another widespread frost, with a max temperature of 5C (41F) across the South.’

A very frosty start to December at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire this morning 

Frosty conditions and a dusting of snow on the rooftops of homes at Detling in Kent today 

A motorist clears their car windscreen as snow falls in Cullercoats in North Tyneside today

Frosty and snowy fields surround the Penshaw Monument near Sunderland this morning

The Angel of the North statue in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, is dusted with snow this morning

A Ryanair plane is de-iced at Edinburgh airport today as temperatures fall well below zero

Sheep graze in a field amid the freezing temperatures at Grantown-on-Spey in Scotland today

Snow swept across the South West, parts of Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland yesterday.

More than 30 schools in Cornwall closed for the day or opened late due to hazardous conditions.

In County Durham, police said ‘the first main snowfall of the winter’ had led to some road crashes.

And in North Yorkshire, the snow led to the A169 between Pickering and Whitby being closed and treacherous conditions elsewhere.

Another Met Office warning for snow and ice had been in place until 11am this morning

Residents of Ivybridge in Devon reported ‘heavy snow’ at 8am during the school run and rush hour, with driving conditions ‘really bad’.

READ MORE Will it snow for Christmas 2023? Met Office reveals weather prediction for December

The Eden Project in Cornwall was closed because of the snow and there were reports of vehicles being stranded in the snow between Helston and Falmouth.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said the cold snap will be with us into the weekend – although milder air will attempt to make inroads from the South West, bringing further snow.

He said: ‘At the moment, the cold air is likely to stay in place for the end of this week and through the weekend, although a weather front will affect the South on Saturday and a low pressure system may move into southwestern parts on Sunday.’

Mr Claydon said the weather front tomorrow is likely to bring sleet and snow on high ground of South West England and the Brecon Beacons, and rain at lower levels.

He added: ‘It is due to move east but peters out on the way.’

Snow banks replace sand banks on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside today

The Angel of the North stands out among the white snow as more cold weather is expected

Snow on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside today as wintry weather hits Britain

The Met Office said Sunday could see temperatures drop to -10C (14F) in northern England

A man walks his dog along a snowy path in the North Tyneside village of Cullercoats today

The weather is likely to remain cold next week with a north-easterly air flow from the north

The Met Office expect it to remain cold with further coastal wintry showers in the North 

 Elsewhere, the weather is due to remain mostly dry and bright but bitterly cold.

READ MORE Are you winter driving ready? 10 tips to prepare your car for harsher conditions

On Saturday, daytime highs of just 2C (36F) are predicted in London, while Birmingham and Leeds could reach only 1C (34F) and some rural spots may struggle to rise above freezing.

Forecasters say they are not yet certain about how far Sunday’s low pressure system will make inroads against the cold air. 

Snow is possible on its leading edge on Sunday and Monday if it tracks north and eastwards.

Moving into next week, the weather is likely to remain cold with a north-easterly air flow pushing through frigid air from the north.

The Met Office predicts a good deal of dry, sunny weather for many, showers remain possible across the UK, particularly in eastern coastal areas. However, showers could turn wintry at times.

A swimmer prepares to take an icy dip in the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park today

A boy does a snow angel this morning at Chester-le-Street in County Durham this morning

Snow on a car in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, this as yellow weather warnings remain in place 

A woman walks down a snow-covered road in the North Tyneside village of Cullercoats today

People walk across a snowy road this morning at Chester-le-Street in County Durham

The weather will become increasingly unsettled and less cold in southern and central areas next week, but it will probably remain cold with further coastal wintry showers in the north.

READ MORE Are YOU due a new Cold Weather Payment from today? Check your postcode to find out if you’re eligible

For those who may be travelling on the roads this weekend, National Network Manager at National Highways, Dale Hipkiss, advised motorists to keep a winter kit in the car while driving.

‘Keeping a kit of essential items like a torch and warm clothes in your vehicle can be vital in case you and your passengers become stranded,’ he said.

‘Freezing conditions bring so many hazards such as snow and ice, so please… plan ahead for your journey, check weather forecasts, and if weather conditions do become challenging while travelling, adjust your driving behaviour and take extra care.

‘It’s also a good idea for people to check [your] vehicles, such as tyres, coolant and oil levels, etc. before heading out to reduce the risk of breakdowns.’

He added: ‘If you do unfortunately find yourself in an unsafe or vulnerable situation and need assistance, please contact the emergency services.’

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