Heavy snow and high winds to create treacherous conditions

Snow covered fields and roads surrounding St. Andrew's Church in Killaney, Lisburn, Co DownPA Media

Heavy snow overnight is expected to bring treacherous conditions across the UK with motorists in affected areas warned to only travel if essential.

Three amber warnings are in place for the Peak District, Pennines, North Wales and part of Northern Ireland until Friday afternoon.

Some areas are set to face 50mph winds and 40cm of snow as blizzard conditions cause “significant disruption”.

Less severe yellow ice and snow warnings cover much of the UK.

The Met Office is warning that snow drifts will create dangerous conditions on the roads and National Highways has issued a “severe weather warning” for the North East, Midlands and North West.

Temperatures overnight are expected to match Wednesday’s, the coldest of the year so far, before falling even further on Friday night.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said that in places covered by amber warnings, there would be “very difficult, treacherous conditions”.

“Ideally, avoid travelling in those periods – but if you have to head out then be aware that journeys could take significantly longer,” he added.

BBC weather forecaster Billy Payne said blizzard-like conditions could occur later on Friday as east to north-easterly winds strengthen, particularly over high ground.

“This could of course make travel more difficult with snow piling up more in some areas,” he added.

The winter weather has been named Storm Larisa by the French weather service.

A postal delivery worker wearing shorts in heavy snow fall during his delivery rounds in Oldham, Greater Manchester

PA Media

Hundreds of schools across the UK had to close because of the conditions on Thursday.

More sleet and snow could hit at the weekend and snow and ice warnings are in place for parts of England and Scotland until Sunday morning.

Milder air is forecast for Sunday into Monday when a thaw will begin and conditions will begin to improve.

Amber weather warnings are issued when there is more chance of severe weather potentially causing disruption to everyday life, according to the Met Office’s website.

They are used to warn of travel delays on the roads and railways, as well as power cuts.

People travelling on Thursday evening were warned to expect delays on both rail and road, with Travel South Yorkshire saying public transport was “severely disrupted across the region”.

A man walking over a golf course in heavy snow

PA Media

Merseyrail said the first trains on Friday would be cancelled due to the weather conditions.

Meanwhile, National Highways said it had closed the A66 between Bowes in County Durham and Brough in Cumbria in both directions, while the A628 Woodhead Pass in Derbyshire was closed in both directions for about 14 miles between Flouch, South Yorkshire, and Hollingworth, Greater Manchester.

Derbyshire County Council added it had closed six roads, with many minor roads also impassable.

National Highways in England issued a severe weather alert for snow in the North West, North East and Midlands until 08:00 GMT on Friday.

The wintry conditions have caused at least 270 schools to shut in Wales so far, affecting pupils in Denbigh, Flintshire, Powys, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

And in the West Midlands at least 250 schools closed, with hundreds more elsewhere shutting early on Thursday as the amber warnings came into force.

Children ride toboggans down a hill after heavy snow fall in Balboa, in Co Carlow.

PA Media

Flights were paused at Birmingham airport earlier as workers cleared snow and ice from the runway and East Midlands Airport was also forced to temporarily shut its runway.

Passengers are being advised to check with their airlines for the most up-to-date flight information.

The RAC said there had been 50% more breakdowns than usual in the worst affected areas – with some drivers stuck in the snow in parts of South Yorkshire and Wales.

“Given the weather, we recommend thinking carefully before setting out,” RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said. “With more snow forecast, things are likely to get worse on the roads before they get better.”

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