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UK Braced for Further Snow and Ice on Monday

Parts of the UK are forecast to see further snow and ice which is expected to cause local travel disruption on Monday.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning of snow for north Wales, the West Midlands and northern England from 6pm on Sunday to 12pm on Monday. A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is also in place for the central eastern half of Scotland until midday on Monday.

The Met Office said snow may lead to localised disruption with “some roads and railways likely to be affected, with longer journey times by road, bus and train services”. Rain will also likely fall as snow on Sunday and some of Monday in relatively low-lying areas.

The Met Office said snow should later be confined to the higher parts of northern and central Wales and northern England, leading to “accumulations of 2-5cm on some roads above around 150m, and perhaps 10-15cm on roads above around 350m”.

Earlier on Sunday, about 7,000 homes and businesses were left without power after snowfall brought down trees and stranded hundreds of motorists in Cumbria. By the evening, Electricity North West said all but 1,500 had been reconnected.

The power network operator said that “access continues to be a major issue and even specialist 4×4 vehicles cannot reach all sites” with “equipment for repairs being carried on foot in some locations”.

Drivers had to be rescued from their cars after up to 3ft of snow fell in parts of the Lake District on Saturday, when the area was busy with day-trippers.

Mike Margeson, a mountain rescuer with more than 40 years’ experience, said his teams worked with police and firefighters to help pull people from their cars overnight. “It was a very unprecedented rate of snowfall. I don’t remember seeing that amount of depth of snow falling for a very long time,”

Hundreds of people took refuge in emergency overnight shelters including schools, village halls and council chambers after abandoning their vehicles in the blizzards. Karl Melville, the assistant director of highways for Cumberland council, said 2-3ft of snow fell in parts of the county.

He said some of the council’s gritters were unable to move for three hours because people had abandoned their cars. “We were having to dig in front of the gritters before we could start ploughing the road. That’s how severe the snow was,” Melville said.

Hannah Smith and her family, including her eight-year-old daughter and her friend, said they had to walk for four miles in heavy snow after abandoning their car while trying to return home to Kendal from Grasmere. A journey that normally would have taken about 30 minutes turned into a nine-hour expedition, she said.

“We saw hundreds of cars all along the route, some abandoned, but many with people still stuck in their cars,” Smith said. “I was quite worried about how many vulnerable, elderly and young families had been in their cars for over eight hours and by this time it was very cold and dark.”

Sally Parkyn, the clerk of Windermere and Bowness town council, said about 25 people and two dogs stayed overnight in its chambers, Langstone House, where one guest bedded down on the mayor’s ceremonial throne.

“We had very little to offer them. Hot drinks, biscuits and a warm room. We got pillows for the four children. It was just really difficult, but everybody did their best,” she said. “People complain about lack of preparedness, but we haven’t had this much snow in years and the gritters and ploughs were out constantly.”

One of the families stranded in the council chambers had come from Singapore in the hope of seeing snow, Parkyn said. “They got far more than they bargained for.”

In Grizebeck, members of the village hall had been preparing for a craft fair and a tractor run to raise money for charity, until heavy snowfall forced them to turn the building into a refuge centre overnight.

“We had a little sprinkling in the morning and thought,’How lovely for the craft fair,’ but it’s been quite significant this time,” said Yvonne Graham, the manager of Grizebeck community hall, who had to abandon her car in deep snow in the village of Kirkby-in-Furness. “We had no warning whatsoever. It will take a couple of days to get back to normal, I think.”

Lee Thomas, a committee member at Grizebeck community hall, said it took some drivers four and a half hours to make it down a 15-minute stretch of road by Saturday evening. Many people eventually gave up and abandoned their cars.

He said: “I’ve not seen snow to this level here for eight or nine years – and to be that much over a short space of time. It was just non-ending all day, heavy, heavy snowfall all day, and there was no sign of it abating.”

Source: The Guardian