UK weather: Batten down the hatches: Violent storms with 60mph winds and heavy rains are set to lash Britain tonight and ALL DAY tomorrow

January 26th, 20133:04 pm @

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  • Travel chaos on M6 in Lancashire after a foot of snow fell on the motorway between junctions 25 and 27 last night
  • Mountain rescue teams and police were called to the scene to rescue hundreds of stranded passengers
  • Some drivers were stuck on the motorway for up to eight hours between 8.30pm last night and this morning
  • Up to 7in of snow fell over high ground in parts of the country – with many areas getting 4in overnight
  • Today will see temperatures soar to as high as 9C when snow and ice will start to thaw causing flooding in areas
  • Britain to be battered by rain and winds of up to 60mph as storms hit the country tonight and tomorrow

By
Martin Robinson, Nick Enoch and Suzannah Hills

15:02, 25 January 2013


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15:01, 26 January 2013

Britain is back on flood alert as forecasters warn that torrential rain and gale force winds will hit tonight – just 24 hours after a foot of snow blanketed the north of England.

Rivers around the country are already at bursting point as a new warm front swept across the UK today sparking a rapid thaw
of the snow and ice which left hundreds of motorists stuck on the M6 for up to eight hours last night and has cost
the economy £318million during the two-week cold snap.

But the warm weather is also bringing in a wave of low pressure from the west that will see the whole country battered with rain and winds of up to 60mph.

And the combination of melting snow and heavy rain is likely to cause localised flash flooding – particularly in areas where there is still a large mass of lying snowfall.

Calm before the storm: Much of the snow compacted over the last two weeks, pictured here in Gateshead today, is expected to thaw this weekend as a new warm front moves in

Red sky in the morning, Shepherds warning: A lone runner makes the most of the sunshine on a deserted Tynemouth beach in Tyne and Wear today but storms are on the way tonight

Met Office forecaster Helen Waite said: ‘Rain and heavy winds will start moving in from the west this evening and will cover most of the country by Sunday afternoon.

‘There are flood warnings in place with everywhere forecast rain varying from 10mm in the south to 40mm in high areas.

‘As temperatures become more mild the snow and ice – particularly in areas such as Pennines, Coltswolds, and Welsh Mountains – is expected to thaw. This combination could cause flooding in many areas.

‘Then it will be a wet and windy week in general with a risk of gales with winds of up to 60mph in the north west.

‘There will be very high winds and it will be quite stormy meaning there are risks of localised impact.’

Wales has already been badly hit with emergency services inundated with incidents. Torrential rain in south-western parts of the region, coupled with melting snow, has made some roads impassable.

Among the worst-affected areas are Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, where local councils have been asked to help with sandbags and unblocking drains.

Under water: A resident assesses the damage to his house in Llanddowror, Carmarthenshire, after heavy rain and melting snow caused localised flooding

Water damage: A family lounge at a home in Carmarthenshire is covered in water after flooding last night with more expected on the way

Three day forecast: Sunny spells today will cause some of the ice and snow from the last two weeks to thaw. Rain will start to move in on Sunday before covering much of the country on Monday

Flood warning: These yellow weather warnings show the areas that may suffer from flooding today and tomorrow

Dyfed-Powys Police said it had received dozens of calls – and there are also reports of homes being flooded in south-east Wales.

Chris Burton, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said temperatures could rise to around 8C today and to more than 10C in the south tomorrow, followed by wet and windy weather next week.

He said: ‘Heavy rain will fall across most parts of Britain tonight and into tomorrow morning.

‘The worst affected areas will be the west of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which will see up to an inch of rain overnight.

‘Combined with rapid melting snow it brings a risk of localised flooding.’

The Environment Agency warned there is a risk of surface water and river flooding this weekend across England and Wales – particularly in the Midlands and north east England. There are several flood warnings and alerts in place.

A spokesman said: ‘Emergency teams from the Environment Agency will be out in force throughout the weekend to shore up defences, monitor river levels and clear blockages from watercourses.’

Last of the snow: A Leeds City Council tractor ploughs snow from an ice covered Horsforth Street this morning

Ice beach: A man exercises on Tynemouth beach, Tyne and Wear, on freshly fallen snow, following an overnight snowfall

The UK will have a brief reprieve on Monday but then faces several days of heavy storms with torrential rain and winds of up to 60mph.

It comes after hundreds of motorists were left stranded on the M6 for up to eight hours as temperatures dropped below freezing overnight after a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow brought traffic to a standstill.

Mountain rescue teams and police were called in to help rescue stranded drivers after the motorway became blocked in both directions from junctions 25 and 27 between Wigan and Chorley in Lancashire from 8.30pm last night until the early hours of this morning.

Eye witnesses reported that a number of vehicles tried to drive around the blocked traffic using the hard shoulder but ended up crashing in the bad weather causing further tailbacks.

Chief Inspector Mike Adamson said: ‘We realised at about 11pm last night that this was going to be a major incident.

‘Some of the drivers and passengers have been stuck for hours – it has been a very difficult night for them.

‘We have set up a command centre at Charnock Services, where officers have collected hot drinks and taken them to those who are stuck.’

Stormy front: Tynemouth beach, in Tyne and Wear, which is currently covered in snow, will soon be hit by rain

Hard at work: Tony Sheldon, 53 and his grandson clear the pathway of snow outside Crusoe’s beach restaurant on Tynemouth beach

Ice cold drinks: Susan Masters created some seasonal customers at The Durham Ox beer garden in Coundon, County Durham, after heavy snow

Some of the stranded drivers passed the time with snowball fights with a battle between the northbound and southbound carriageway. Others spent the hours building snowmen as they waited for help to arrive while some abandoned their cars completely.

Mountain rescue workers walked along the four-mile stretch of the M6 in Lancashire overnight to check on the condition of drivers.

A diabetic man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, while an ambulance taking a female patient to Royal Preston Hospital had to be dug out of the snow by Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team.

Phil O’Brien, team leader of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue, said: ‘It was potentially a very serious situation. The Highways Agency managed to get people moving at about 4.30 to 5am.

‘There were hundreds of cars stuck but most people seemed in good spirits.’

But while some drivers lightheartedly entertained themselves with snowball fights and building snowmen, one woman who got stuck on the M6 travelling home to Bootle from Wigan described the it as the ‘scariest experience’ she had had in 26 years of driving.

Never mind the cold: A competitor takes part in the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido today

Mad for swimming: Even though the weather is warming up, it still struggled to reach 8C at Tooting Bec Lido today

Louise Jones, who spent five hours on the motorway making the 20 mile trip home, told ITV: ‘We did not move at all, three lanes of cars were totally gridlocked. For the first three hours we left the engine running to keep warm, then turned it off and every car we could see was just sitting in the darkness, it was really eerie how silent it was.

‘Eventually a snow plough drove along the hard shoulder at about 1am, then we saw nothing moving until a police car at 1.40am.

‘It really was horrendous. I can’t understand why it took so long to clear enough space to direct traffic through. It was a total farce.’

Lancashire Police also worked with Lancashire Mountain Rescue teams, the Highways Agency and neighbouring force Greater Manchester Police to clear roads and provide welfare assistance to those who were stranded.

The Highway Agency worked throughout the night to clear the routes with snow ploughs.

A spokesman for the agency urged those who had abandoned their cars to return to them as soon as possible.

He said: ‘The snowfall was very sudden and very heavy – over a foot in some places – causing cars to become stranded.

Stranded: The M6 motorway was blocked in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 in Lancashire when a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow brought drivers to a standstill around 8.30pm, the Highways Agency said

‘Surreal scenes’: Stranded drivers spent hours building snowmen and playing northbound vs southbound snowball fights while they waited to be rescued

Left by the side of the road: A car is left abandoned on a slip road beside junction 25 of the M6 in Lancashire

‘But we have managed to get through the traffic and clear most routes to get people moving again.

‘We are urging those who have abandoned their cars to collect, all we can do is move them to the side for now but it makes it difficult to clear routes.

‘With the rain falling and ice melting onto very cold road surfaces, we are now warning drivers of the danger of ice.’

Kevin Collister, who was stuck on the motorway just past the M58 junction heading northbound, told Sky News: ‘There is absolutely no movement whatsoever on my side of the carriageway, all the snow is squashed down into ice and there are wagons trying to move and sliding sideways.’

He described how his 45 minute journey ended up taking right hours and claimed there were no emergency services in sight.

He told the TV station: ‘It was very heavy snow and absolute chaos. It was absolutely freezing.

‘We saw one Highways Agency car drive past us and that was all.

‘It was only good Samaritans like us who went around to check on other drivers and make sure they were okay.’

Not worth the wait: A stranded car was last night abandoned by its owner at the turn-off to Wigan on the M6 after heavy snow caused eight hour tailbacks

In the lay-by: A driver decided to make their way home without their car after a sudden burst of heavy snow on the M6 left many trapped

Conservative MP for Morecambe Lunesdale David Morris, who was stuck on the southbound carriageway, reported surreal scenes but a camaraderie among the drivers stuck in the snow.

He told Mail Online: ‘The snow just came out of nowhere -’I've never seen anything like it in my life.

‘I set off around 8pm to go and pick up my son from Manchester and there was a little bit of sleet

‘But when I got on the M6 it just came down really suddenly. I’d already seen several gritters on the road but there was so much snow in such a short space of time there was little they could do.

‘The traffic ground to a halt as the snow got heavier and we just started to get snowed in.

‘The emergency services were fantastic and the Mountain Rescue Service and police were driving up and down the hard shoulder checking on people while they worked on getting the traffic flowing again.

‘A few people have asked me if I don’t think the gritters should have done a better a job but I don’t think there’s more they could have done. There was so much snow that the grit had little impact.

‘Major incident’: Mountain rescue teams and police were called to the scene to help stranded drivers

Accidents: Many lorries jack-knifed in the bad weather while other vehicles crashed trying to negotiate their way around the stuck traffic

Dangerous: MP David Morris took this picture of a lorry struggling to drive in the snow on the M6 by Lancashire

Good spirits: Snooker player Barry Pinches tweeted this picture of a snowman in the fast lane of the M6 last night

‘Everyone knew we were going to be there for a few hours so we all just made the best of it. People were having snowball fights over the central reservation and building snowmen to pass the time.

‘I eventually got home at 6am this morning so was stuck for about ten hours.’

Another person claimed a burger van stranded on the M6 started serving food to other drivers stuck on the M6.

Paul Kingston tweeted: ‘Motorists caught in M6 #uksnow storm in Lancs last night were saved from hunger, after stranded burger van opens up shop on carriageway.’

Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter today to express his sympathy for those caught up in the snow.

He tweeted: ‘Huge sympathy for those affected by heavy £uksnow. Govt working closely with transport operators to minimise impact on everyone.’

Most of the vehicles left on the M6 have been recovered, a Lancashire police spokeswoman said.

Motorway camera: This CCTV image shows the deserted M6 southbound at junction 30 but hundreds of stranded cars can be seen in the distance

Traffic jam: Hundreds of drivers spent several hours stuck on the M6, pictured northbound above, last night

Sudden snowfall: A foot of snow fell on the M6 in Lancashire, pictured is junction 27, in a very short period

Keeping busy: MP David Norris tweeted this picture of a snowman built on top of a car stranded on the M6 last night

However some routes remain blocked, with between 20 and 30 abandoned cars still on the A56 between Rising Bridge and Edenfield in Lancashire.

The rapid snowfall last night caught out many motorists and several routes in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors were impassable.

North Yorkshire Fire Service said a husband and wife had to be rescued from a snow drift on the North York Moors last night.

STUCK M6 DRIVERS’ REACTION ON TWITTER

Dave Swanton(Swanny) ‏@SwannyMediaMan tweeted: ‘@Highways_Agency any chance of some grit on the M6 at Standish around J27. You keep telling everyone how hard you are working.Its a disgrace

Luke J R McCormick ‏@LukejrMcCormick: ‘After going through a snow blizzard along the M6 and across into Wales last night, I wake up to blue sky and sunshine’

Aiesha Shepherd ‏@Aieshashep: ‘Dying this morning after strolling in at 4:30 this morning and NOT due to a messy night out how about being stuck on the M6 in snow 7 hours!’

barry pinches ‏@barrypinches: ‘Can’t believe it , someone made a snowman on the fast lane of the M6!’


richchibuku ‏@richchibuku: ‘The m6 is a disaster zone. Saw about ten crashes. Liverpool not much better. Stay off the roads.’

anthony still ‏@stilly2009: ‘@granadareports terrible conditions on the M6 last night,I saw at least 10 vehicles crashed,only one lane appeared to have been gritted!’

Crews were called to the Stape to Egton road at around 7.30pm.

A
spokesman said: ‘Due to extreme weather conditions, a husband and wife
had driven into a snow drift and were unable to get out.

‘The wife had undergone surgery a week before and they had tried to dig themselves out for over two hours.

‘A
well-known breakdown company would not attend. Fire crews from
Goathland and Whitby attended and managed to get the couple and the
vehicle to the safety of a local hotel.

‘Usually, the fire service only attend life risk incidents but on this occasion an exception was made.’

North
Yorkshire Police said some main roads were blocked by snow and
abandoned vehicles, including the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton and
the B6265 at Rylstone.

The incident happened as a number of routes across the region were reported to be blocked.

South
Yorkshire Police’s armed response team tweeted: ‘Not normal to be
limited to 30mph by the snow and crazy motorists. This has to be the
worst driving conditions ever.’

The
blizzards have cost the country £318million after 51.4million working
hours were lost. Nearly 9million people couldn’t work their usual hours
because of problems with transport caused by the snow while nearly
590,000 missed two days of work.

The death is being treated as unexplained but one theory is he died in the freezing temperatures.

A father died on Thursday when his car skidded into a river just before his wife’s vehicle also plunged into the icy water.

BBC
employee David Cox, 42, was taking his 11-year-old daughter Tess to
school when their Toyota Aygo left the path and crashed into the River
Wye in Derbyshire.

Moments behind them in a separate car, a Toyota Rav 4, was his wife Ruth, 39, and son Ioan, nine.

Mrs Cox also lost control as she drove along the bridlepath near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6.

The children and their mother managed to get out of the cars and safely to shore but Mr Cox was unable to escape.

Neighbours tried to save him but it is believed he was trapped for around 40 minutes. He died in hospital.

Other
casualties of the cold spell include postman John Bircham, 57, who
collapsed soon after he was towed out of a snowdrift in Dulverton,
Somerset, last Saturday, and Bernadette Lee, 25, who was found collapsed
in the snow in Deal, Kent, on Sunday following a night out.

Water levels rose so quickly last night that many residents in the village of Llanddowror, south-west Wales, did not have time to move their cars

Flooding is causing major disruption in south-west Wales, with fire and police crews inundated with incidents. Above, a flooded bungalow in the centre of Llanddowror

Torrential rain in south-western parts of Wales, coupled with melting snow, has made some roads impassable

The dramatic turnaround after more than a week of blizzards and freezing conditions means forecasters now fear more flooding today because of a rapid thaw of the heavy built-up of snow and ice. Above, fire crews on the A477 in Llanddowror prepare to evacuate residents

A man desperately tries to move his car despite the torrent of water in Llanddowror, south-west Wales last night

VIDEO Snow on M6 captured by trapped motorist who are helping each other out

 

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VIDEO Trapped MP David Morris talks on camera from the snow-bound M6

 

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The blizzards have
cost the country £318million after 51.4million working hours were lost.
Nearly 9million people couldn’t work their usual hours because of
problems with transport caused by the snow while nearly 590,000 missed
two days of work.

The death is being treated as unexplained but one theory is he died in the freezing temperatures.

A father died on Thursday when his car skidded into a river just before his wife’s vehicle also plunged into the icy water.

BBC employee David Cox, 42, was taking his 11-year-old daughter Tess to school when their Toyota Aygo left the path and crashed into the River Wye in Derbyshire.

Moments behind them in a separate car, a Toyota Rav 4, was his wife Ruth, 39, and son Ioan, nine.

Mrs Cox also lost control as she drove along the bridlepath near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6.

The children and their mother managed to get out of the cars and safely to shore but Mr Cox was unable to escape.

Neighbours tried to save him but it is believed he was trapped for around 40 minutes. He died in hospital.

Other casualties of the cold spell include postman John Bircham, 57, who collapsed soon after he was towed out of a snowdrift in Dulverton, Somerset, last Saturday, and Bernadette Lee, 25, who was found collapsed in the snow in Deal, Kent, on Sunday following a night out.

The comments below have not been moderated.

I don’t understand the issue. Is it one of not enough equipment, not deploying it right or people not knowing how to drive in snow ? Is this just an unusually large amount of snow for the area ?- ray weaver, new jersey usa ———————————————————— The issue is the same as in some of the southern states of the US, infrequent and relatively light snowfall when it does occur. Resources are geared up to meet average winters. When snowfall is above average they experience the same chaos as places like Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, et cetera.

Grasshopper Farmer
,

Sandburrville,
26/1/2013 14:55

People could help themselves by switching to winter tyres, when it’s winter.

JJThomson
,

Cambridge,
26/1/2013 14:55

Awful. Hopefully no babies on board needing feeds! Could not think of anything worse than that! Nightmare.

w_endi1
,

london, United Kingdom,
26/1/2013 14:54

PLEASE no more snowy headlines – it’s so boring, and there are far more important things going on in this world !!!

AKH
,

Durham,
26/1/2013 14:51

Flood alert in the middle of the Irish Sea!!!

Roy
,

Lancashire,
26/1/2013 14:48

When will people stop going against sound advice and then venture out to drive in weather like this. I’m glad they were inconvenienced.

TonyMartin
,

Berwick,
26/1/2013 14:47

I don’t understand the issue. Is it one of not enough equipment, not deploying it right or people not knowing how to drive in snow ? Is this just an unusually large amount of snow for the area ?

ray weaver
,

new jersey usa,
26/1/2013 14:44

we could pay a fortune in snow tyres, snow ploughs and so on and then have several Winters when they weren’t used. – SW66Bristol , Bristol, United Kingdom,

That’s the problem – people like you call them snow tyres! They are WINTER tyres and are used as they are safer on the roads when temperatures drop below 7C. So as the UK has annual winters you would get the benefits every year :)

Swizly
,

Zurich,
26/1/2013 14:44

Am the only one to think “idiots” and I mean the drivers who got stuck and not the emergency or Highway services who had to rescue them? As people ar keen to point out, there was lots of warning about heavy snow so why try to drive in it? No, it was not essential nor was everyone trying to get home from work or there wouldn’t have been so many children caught out with their irresponsible parents! Stop bleeting about the failures of others, putting the emergency services at risk, use a bit of common sense and stay home

So, you recommend people don’t go to work because it “might” snow ? I set off for work at 3pm to work until 10pm. No snow, no rain, no ice. At 7.30pm, it had started to snow. By 8pm, 4 inches of snow were on the ground. By 8.30pm i was driving home on the M62 at 10 mph. My employer would not be impresssed if i called in at 3pm and said “not coming in today cos it might snow” Weather forecasting has been known to be wrong, and i’d quite like to keep my job thanks.

marie
,

leeds,
26/1/2013 14:42

Love the snowpeople in the beer garden! But not for the 1st time l’m grateful l live in south Manchester. Lovely bright sunshine today; not a snowflake in sight!

lesley
,

Manchester,
26/1/2013 14:42

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