Snow and gales bring disruption to UK

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Media captionLocal authorities have been battling to keep roads and pavements open

Wintry weather has caused disruption across parts of the UK, with roads blocked by snow and services suspended.

More than 200 schools were closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Wednesday and police advised motorists to take care when travelling on untreated roads.

More bad weather is expected, with Met Office yellow "be aware" warnings for rain and wind in place across the UK.

Gusts of up to 80mph (129km/h) were recorded on Wednesday evening.

In other incidents caused by the weather conditions:

The Met Office warnings for high wind cover almost all of England and Wales and remain in force until 06:00 GMT Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, winds gusting up to 60mph (97km/h) were recorded across the Isles of Scilly and the far south west of Cornwall.

Exposed coastal areas of north west Wales had gusts of 70mph (113km/h), with the tops of hills there experiencing gusts of 80mph (129km/h).

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption People walking in the snow in Pitlochry, Scotland
Image copyright Angela Slee
Image caption A bus skidded on ice in Wattstown, Rhondda - in Wales
Image copyright AP
Image caption Children playing in the snow in Claudy, Northern Ireland
Image copyright Drusillas Park/PA
Image caption Staff from Drusillas wildlife park, east Sussex, had to remove a large eucalyptus tree from their lemur enclosure

BBC weather presenter John Hammond said: "Wet and windy weather is going to sweep across the whole of the country on Wednesday evening and overnight."

Heavy rain will spread from west to east and could cause localised flooding in some areas, he added.

Northern Ireland was affected by the rain from mid-afternoon on Wednesday, with the east coast of England being reached by midnight.

Scotland and Northern Ireland could also see some more snow falling as well as rain, our forecaster said.

The harsh weather is set to continue on Thursday and into the weekend.

Met Office spokesman Jonathan Hunter said: "Tomorrow we may see wintry showers across the UK with sleet, snow and rain.

"There may be strong winds tomorrow but easing through the day. On Friday and towards the weekend it will be really cold and we may see some snow showers in the north and at high levels."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lions at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland, surround a snow man
Image copyright Grace Elliott
Image caption Large hailstones fell in Camrose, Pembrokeshire, in Wales
Image copyright Colin Cadden
Image caption Cars blanketed by snow in Aviemore in the Highlands

Road operator Bear Scotland vowed its teams would be working around the clock to keep routes clear.

Police Scotland advised against travelling unless completely necessary.

Ch Insp Louise Blakelock said: "If you do decide to travel, ensure your vehicle is well-prepared before setting off, make sure your windscreens are completely free of snow and ice, and your lights are working and clean."

Scotrail said services would be suspended on a number of West Coast routes from 12:00 GMT on Wednesday until 18:00 GMT on Thursday due to the stormy conditions being forecast.

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For the latest on the roads visit the BBC's travel news page and keep up to date with incidents and roadworks on the motorways here.

Alternatively, for regular travel bulletins listen live to BBC Radio Scotland and follow @BBCTravelScot.

In times of severe disruption you can also follow the BBC Scotland severe weather Twitter list of key sources.

Below are a number of other traffic information sources.

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