Snow brings disruption to travellers across the UK

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Media captionFlights were suspended at Manchester Airport as Joanna Gosling reports

Snowstorms have brought travel chaos to northern England, closing more than 300 schools, roads and airports.

Passengers were stranded at Manchester Airport after snow forced it to close both its runways for several hours. It reopened at 14:00 GMT, but passengers were told to expect further delays.

Flights were also suspended at East Midlands Airport as snow ploughs cleared the runways.

Yorkshire, Derbyshire, the North East and North West were worst affected.

Image caption Manchester Airport was closed at 09:20 GMT to allow snow ploughs to clear the runways
Image copyright Manchester ATC
Image caption Heavy snowfall started causing disruption at Manchester Airport early on Thursday morning

In a tweet, Prime Minister David Cameron said he had asked for updates on contingency plans for dealing with heavy snow following the disruption.

Image copyright TWITTER

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: "Following the poor weather experienced this morning, flights have now resumed but are subject to delays.

"The safety and security of our passengers is paramount and we continue to make significant efforts to clear snow from other parts of the airfield.

"Further periods of poor weather are forecast for the rest of the day, and we would ask all passengers to contact their airline before travelling to Manchester Airport."

Image caption Flights at Manchester Airport were suspended for several hours on Thursday
Image copyright Manchester ATC
Image caption Snow ploughs were used to clear the snow at the airport
Image copyright Manchester ATC
Image caption Snow cover at Manchester Airport this morning and at 14:00 GMT
Image copyright David Parry
Image caption David Parry said a lorry caught on fire after sliding backwards down a snow covered hill

Elsewhere, several road accidents led to the closure of main routes and snow and ice disrupted bus and train services.

In Hunwick, County Durham, resident David Parry said a lorry caught fire after sliding backwards down a hill.

"In trying to drive out of the position he had got stuck in, two tyres set on fire and the fire then spread to the truck itself," he said.

Schools across northern England were closed, with 150 in West Yorkshire - about 80 of them in the Bradford area, 47 in Staffordshire, 45 in east Lancashire, 40 in South Yorkshire, 34 in Cumbria, 20 in Manchester.

Image caption Commuters were stranded on the M62 in West Yorkshire
Image copyright Ken Hardy
Image caption Several inches of snow have fallen in Dronfield in Derbyshire

On the M62 in the North West, several vehicles became stuck in snow, causing long delays.

In the North East between Consett and Tow Law, near Durham, driver Mark Litt said drifting snow had resulted in the road only being passable in four-wheel drive vehicles.

In Scotland, wintry weather caused hazardous driving conditions and led to more than 130 school closures.

In Northern Ireland, snow showers have affected the road network with motorists warned about the risk of ice.

Laura Young, from the Met Office, said the deepest snow fell in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland, with 9ins (23cm) falling at Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire, 8ins (21cm) at Glenanne in Armagh and 5ins (13cm) at Spadeadam in Cumbria.

Sheffield City Councillor Jayne Dunn said about 6ins (16cm) of snow fell on the higher parts of the city overnight and there had been further accumulations during the day.

The weather was forecast to turn slightly milder on Friday, reaching up to 7C in the South.

But an Arctic blast will send a fresh wave of snow and freezing temperatures over the weekend.

Image caption One driver braved the elements in a convertible car in Yorkshire
Image copyright Melissa loughran
Image caption Icy roads and snow have caused problems for drivers in Baildon, West Yorkshire
Image caption Several roads have been affected including a section of the A66 in Cumbria
Image caption Cars and roads have been covered in snow in Sheffield

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