UK snow: Hundreds of schools shut and travel disrupted

  • Published
Media caption,

Heavy snow overnight has caused disruption in parts of the region

Hundreds of schools have closed and travel has been disrupted by heavy snowfall across parts of northern England.

Yorkshire was worst affected, leading to some coronavirus vaccinations being cancelled as people were warned against non-essential travel.

Parts of the North West and Derbyshire also saw disruption due to the weather.

The Met Office issued an amber warning for snow, saying up to 6in (15cm) could fall on higher ground.

Roads 'absolutely horrendous'

People were warned against travelling by road, and firms including rail operator Northern advised of widespread disruption to their networks.

Forecasters warned motorists were at risk of becoming stranded.

Some motorists were stuck overnight on the M62 when a parcel lorry jack-knifed, blocking the westbound carriageway near Rochdale.

Highways staff worked overnight to clear the road, which reopened on Tuesday morning.

Chris Johnson, who runs a private gritting firm, described driving conditions as "absolutely horrendous" and said his teams had been at work since the early hours.

"Our biggest trouble has actually been getting to the sites on the public roads," he said.

Image source, West Yorkshire Police
Image caption,
A lorry jack-knifed on the M62 near Huddersfield, closing the eastbound carriageway

About 400 schools across Yorkshire closed their doors to all children for the day,

At least ten schools in Derbyshire were also shut, the county council said, with some in east Lancashire following suit.

Police urged people not to breach lockdown rules after a group of families travelled to an area of North Yorkshire to go sledging.

"Several" groups were at Brayton Barff, Selby, earlier, police.

The Selby Neighbourhood Policing Team said they were not "killjoys" but travelling to go sledging was in breach of Covid regulations.

Vaccinations cancelled

Immunisation appointments at the Great Yorkshire Showground and Ripon Racecourse were cancelled in the morning.

Those due to be vaccinated were told they would have their jab rescheduled.

The NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said afternoon appointments should go ahead as planned.

"Particularly bad conditions" in Huddersfield led health chiefs to warn those due to receive vaccinations at the town's John Smith's Stadium to "only travel if they feel safe and confident in doing so".

Dr Phil Wood, from the West Yorkshire Vaccination Programme, said sites in the county remained open to those able to attend.

Covid testing sites in Catterick and Thornton Le Dale have were also shut. North Yorkshire County Council said people with appointments would be contacted with alternative arrangements.

Media caption,

The heavy snow in South Yorkshire is a problem for drivers but a delight for this skier

In Bingley, West Yorkshire, bad weather stopped Covid-19 home testing teams visiting people, Bradford Council said.

In Sheffield, the trial of a man accused of murdering Hull student Libby Squire was held up after snow prevented some jurors reaching the city's crown court.

No travel warning

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Knaresborough in North Yorkshire awoke to several inches of snow

There were multiple reports of travel disruption, including:

  • The closure of the Woodhead Pass and the A628 at Holme Moss
  • Northern said trees on the line stopping services between Halifax and Rochdale
  • Passengers were asked not to travel on the Calder Valley line as "treacherous road conditions" made it difficult to run replacement buses
  • First Bus said services in Halifax were currently suspended, and added that some other routes were operating on main roads only
  • Arriva Buses said there were no services operating from its Dewsbury depot

South Yorkshire Police has advised people not to travel unless absolutely essential.

Some councils cancelled bin collections and closed waste disposal centres.

The Met Office has issued a yellow rain warning from 18:00 GMT.

It has warned rainfall and melting snow could lead to flooding and further travel disruption.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Dog walkers braved the elements in Knaresborough in North Yorkshire after snow fell overnight

The amber weather warning for snow came in force across much of South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and parts of Derbyshire at 03:00 GMT on Tuesday, and will last until the afternoon.

Meteorologists said January this year was the coldest since 2010, with an average temperature of 2.2C.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office's National Climate Information Centre (NCIC), said the month was "dominated by colder-than-average weather with only brief milder interludes".

"A winter month as cold or colder than January 2021 used to occur in approximately seven out of 10 winters through the 20th Century," said Dr McCarthy.

"In more recent decades this has dropped to around three in ten. So although we are still subject to cold weather in winter, these cold spells tend not to be as severe or as frequent as in the past."

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