The public are being warned not to travel anywhere today, March 18, unless it’s ‘absolutely necessary’, as more snow and ice is expected to hit the UK.
As amber and yellow warnings were put in place, hundreds of flights have been cancelled, some homes have even been evacuated and dozens of cars have been abandoned in the snow as conditions worsen.
Three snowploughs were dispatched to a motorway in the north-west in the early hours of this morning, after bad weather brought traffic to a standstill.
Greater Manchester Police Traffic posted a photo of snow-covered roads at junction 22 of the M62, which has the highest stretch of motorway in the UK:
M62 eastbound J21-22 is currently at a standstill. There are 3 snow ploughs on their way to the front of the queue. Conditions up here are bleak!! @NWmwaypolice #thebeastisback pic.twitter.com/PORKhc2bJ1
— GMP Traffic (@gmptraffic) March 18, 2018
The weather has also played havoc on the notoriously bad M25, which was gridlocked yesterday between Junctions 17 and 18 anti-clockwise, after an air ambulance attended a crash.
The treacherous conditions have also led to hundreds of events up and down the country being called off. Numerous running events have been affected with conditions being deemed unsafe for both competitors and spectators.
The Reading half marathon, the Wigan half marathon and the Wilmslow half marathon have all been cancelled – all events were due to start in the early hours of this morning.
As well as the roads been severely affected, hundreds of flights have also been affected, with a high percentage being cancelled.
Although not thought to be as bad as the ‘Beast from the East’ we had earlier this year, it’s little sibling equivalent is still being a pain in the bum and has been appropriately named, the ‘Mini Beast from the East’.
More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow Airport were cancelled yesterday – most were short-haul journeys, although British Airways routes to New York and Chicago were the ones disrupted the most.
The snowfall overnight hit parts of eastern England and Scotland hardest and as the cold snap sets in, the ‘bitterly cold’ and icy winds will leave some parts feeling as cold as -8C.
Easterly winds have made it feel bitterly cold this weekend. There are amber and yellow weather warnings still in place for #snow and #ice today, with a chance of travel disruption, especially in the South West. Find out more with Aidan McGivern #weatheraware pic.twitter.com/kpmmqi8y36
— Met Office (@metoffice) March 18, 2018
North-west England, Yorkshire, the Midlands and London have all been issued with amber weather warnings for snow and ice.
Meanwhile, a yellow warning for snow and ice is in force for the entire day, which covers most of Britain.
In some of the most severe cases, homes on the coast in Norfolk have been evacuated due to fears of erosion – Norfolk Police said 10 homes in Hemsby have been evacuated as the areas is braced for snow and ice.
The village has been vulnerable to coastal erosion before – back in December 2013, residents were helpless as they watched their cliff-top homes disappear into the sea during a tidal surge.
A total of 10 homes at risk from coastal erosion evacuated in #Hemsby today in multi-agency response. Thanks to local businesses who offered help & support to those affected. The Marrams has been closed for the safety of the public and officers will remain on scene overnight.
— Norfolk Police (@NorfolkPolice) March 17, 2018
Other warnings have come from the country’s emergency services, who are asking people to look out for any elderly or vulnerable neighbours who could be at risk from the cold today.
According to the Metro, Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said:
It’s going to be a very, very cold start, with a widespread frost and ice around as well and we have plenty of snow showers to start the day.
These will be heaviest and most frequent across southwestern areas, so we’re talking parts of Wales and the south west of England in particular.
Across some southwestern parts the snow will continue throughout the day. We’re looking at some fairly large snowfall totals.
— Met Office (@metoffice) March 18, 2018
Mr Wilson said people could see 10-15cm of snow and up to 25cm over higher ground and snow showers in other parts of the country are expected to ease throughout the day, with some spells of sunshine possible.
It’ll stay windy, and it’ll stay very cold indeed. Temperatures barely above freezing and in the wind it’ll feel like it’s well below freezing.
It seems the weather warning has caused shoppers to panic buy as, according to Cornwall Live, some stores in the region are running dangerously low on staple items such as bread and milk.
Large numbers of empty shelves @waitrose Admiral Park. I was told panic buying has begun even though not a flake of snow has fallen on @Guernsey ! #BeastFromTheEast @islandfm pic.twitter.com/DBhDHj6566
— Richard Harding (@laughingradiodj) February 26, 2018
An Asda bakery department manager said:
It’s been manic in here today. We still have bread and milk in the store and there are still several pallets out back but I don’t know how long it’s going to last as people are panic buying.
A similar thing happened when Storm Emma hit the UK earlier this year:
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I don’t think there’s a need to panic quite as much just yet people – but remember, as warned, only travel if necessary and if you can, check in on those vulnerable during these conditions.