North West avoids Met Office weather warning as coldest night of the year predicted

Sub-zero temperatures could bring the coldest night of the year as Britain's deep freeze looks set to continue for another day.

Thursday, 28th December 2017, 9:59 am
Updated Thursday, 28th December 2017, 11:15 am
Met Office weather warning map
Met Office weather warning map

However, the North West looks set to miss the worst of the cold weather, with only the possibility of some icy patches on untreated roads or pavements.

In parts of Scotland the mercury is predicted to plummet on Thursday night to below minus 13C (8.6F).

A yellow warning of snow has been issued for the East Midlands and the north of England for Friday morning, but the Met Office has since warned this could be extended.

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Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said there could also be an area within this warning that may be upgraded to amber, and said up to 10cm of snow could fall.

She said it is "probably central areas of England" that will be affected by the heaviest snowfall as the working week comes to a close.

But Ms Maxey warned the country could see the "coldest night of the year so far" before the snow blankets parts of the country.

"The coldest temperature we have seen this year is minus 13C in Scotland, and we are likely to see temperatures slightly below that," she added.

"But we are not talking about those extremes in the town and city centres, it is out in rural areas, more exposed areas, particularly over lying snow where you see temperatures drop the most."

The Met Office said temperatures fell to as low as minus 4.5C (24F) in Katesbridge, Co Down, in the early hours of Thursday while most parts of the UK hovered around 0C (32F).

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

The RAC said the ice resulted in an "incredibly busy" morning, and as a result of the conditions dealt with a number of battery failures, minor bumps and shunts, and skidding.

Greater Manchester Police said the Mancunian Way was closed between London Road and Fairfield Street for more than an hour because of ice and after a collision involving four cars at around 6.15am.

Across the motorways and major roads, a spokesman for Highways England said there were "no problems" and in anticipation of overnight ice, the gritters had been out.

He advised motorists to drive to the conditions, to make sure they have enough fuel and screen wash, and that their tyre treads are in good shape.

On Wednesday there were stories of disruption, cancellations and delays at the country's travel terminals due to the weather, 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.

On Thursday, Stansted said all flights were anticipated to operate as scheduled, although passengers were reminded to check their flight's status before travelling to the airport.

And at Luton Airport, a spokesman said the travel hub was busy because there were a few more passengers left over from the disruption caused by the weather on Wednesday.

"It does look like there are a few delays to some flights, but we are open, operational - nothing out of the ordinary," he said, adding that passengers should still check with their airlines.

On Wednesday snowfall caused widespread disruption with a lorry crash on the M1, resulting in the closure of the southbound carriageway, a jackknifed HGV on the M5 in Gloucestershire, and severe conditions on the A14 near Kettering.

Homes were left without power, and in Scotland three climbers had to be rescued from the Cairngorms mountain range after getting lost in blizzard conditions.