Jan 18 2013
Britain's transport network could be brought to its knees today as heavy snow is expected to blanket the UK.
Much of the UK has woken up to a thick covering of snow, and up to 12in (30cm) could fall on higher ground.
Travel companies have warned of widespread travel disruptions, and train firms have put out revised timetables. Southern, Greater Anglia, South West Trains and the Eurostar are all running amended services on a number of routes or with speed restrictions because of the snow.
Gritters have been out in force, and the Highways Agency has issued an amber alert, advising motorists to take extra care and check weather forecasts before they travel.
Weather experts warned it would be "bitterly cold" in England, with temperatures likely to remain below zero. Most of the UK is likely to be covered with between five and 10cm of snow. People in the South West will experience blizzard conditions throughout the morning, with winds of at least 30mph across Devon and Cornwall.
The Met Office has issued a "red" severe weather warning for heavy snow in upland parts of south east Wales, which is set to experience the worst of the weather. Drifting snow of up to 12in (30cm) is likely to cause severe disruption, the Met Office said, and warned people to avoid all but essential journeys.
Amber alerts were in place for the Midlands, London and the South, the east of England, the South West, the North West and Northern Ireland.
Gemma Plumb, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said snow had been coming in "from all directions" overnight. "We have had heavy snow showers in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and much of the east coast, where we have had reports of 3cm-4cm falling," she said. "A band of more persistent and heavy snow has moved up from the South West, across south-west England, central and southern parts of Wales and central and southern England. The winds in the South West and Wales are strong, meaning there are blizzard conditions there."
Ms Plumb said much of the rest of England, Wales and southern Scotland had been dusted with a light covering of snow, but warned more would fall throughout the day.
The snow is expected to ease off later in the day, remaining largely in eastern areas, and in Devon and Cornwall it will turn to sleet and rain. But it is likely to stay very cold over the weekend, with more snow likely.