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UK Weather: North Facing ‘ice Rink Monday’ as Freeze Hits Roads

Parts of the UK could be facing “ice rink Monday” as snow refreezes overnight, the RAC has warned.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice in eastern Scotland with road and railway disruption expected.

There is also a separate warning for rain in parts of south Wales and Devon and West Somerset.

It follows days of freezing temperatures and disruption caused by snow with Cumbria particularly hit.

RAC breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said “treacherous icy conditions” were expected in northern parts on Monday as he urged drivers to take care when travelling.

“Those who decide to drive should leave extra space behind the vehicle in front, reduce their speeds to give plenty of time to stop,” he said.

“Before setting out, it’s important to allow more time to de-ice and de-mist vehicles thoroughly.”

The Met Office said a thaw of recent snowfall will lead to wet roads and pavements, adding the refreezing of thawed snow as temperatures fall overnight will cause some icy patches on untreated surfaces.

Conditions in Cumbria remain treacherous with even 4×4 vehicles struggling to get access to affected homes and damaged power lines. Supplies are being carried into the area by foot.

About 45 schools were closed on Monday in areas including Kendal, Ambleside, Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness.

Further south, temperatures are expected to be milder than previous days. A warning for rain is in place for parts of the south and south west of England.

Met Office chief meteorologist Jason Kelly said: “The first Atlantic air mass for a while is making some inroads across southern and central parts of the country bringing less cold conditions to many southern areas, whilst the cold air mass continues to hold on in the north.

“Where these two air masses meet is the focus for continuing ice risk. For parts of north-east Scotland, wintry showers will bring some icy conditions overnight, as well as some accumulating snow inland.”

Saturday night saw the coldest temperatures since last winter, with -12.5C (9.5F) recorded in Altnaharra in the Highland region of northern Scotland, according to the weather service.

In Cumbria, police declared a “major incident” on Saturday evening after snow caused about 7,500 homes and businesses to lose power and made roads unpassable.

Drivers were forced to abandon their cars to seek warm places to spend the night. Some sought shelter in the girl guiding centre in the village of Hawkshead after its annual Christmas fair was forced to be abandoned.

Judith Myers, who has run the Brownies there for the past 47 years, said stallholders and visitors were stuck after the sudden snowfall. Around 45 people slept over even though there were only 32 bunks, she told Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There was quite a few sleeping on the floor in the main hall. We put an appeal out on Facebook to members of the public villagers, they brought along sleeping bags and blankets and things like that, and food. We had soup brought and bread and all sorts of things.”

She said nearly everyone around them had no power but luckily theirs only went “on and off twice”. Some nearby were still without power, she said, as people stayed in a local school, church and the market hall before coming to the girl guiding hut.

Meteorologist Tom Morgan estimated 20 to 30cm of snow fell in southern Cumbria but cautioned these were not official measurements.

Electricity North West said on Sunday evening that 1,500 properties in Cumbria remained without electricity, adding that power had been restored to 7,500 homes.

An amber health alert for cold weather, issued by the UK Health Security Agency, is in place until Tuesday for five central and northern regions in England.

The agency warned: “Cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time, with potential for the whole population to be at risk.”

Heavy snow has also been causing disruption across Europe this weekend.

Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have been hit by train and flight cancellations.

Source: BBC