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Sub-zero Britain to warm up as Atlantic front sweeps in… but the 'Pest from the West' will bring more rain and the wet weather could last until ChristmasRiver Thames freezes over at Wargrave, Berkshire, and in parts of LondonTemperatures set to rise by Friday… but rain is also set to return
01:52 GMT, 13 December 2012
Freezing fog and ice brought beautiful scenes to the countryside but transport chaos in many cities yesterday as temperatures plummeted to -10C.
About 200 flights were cancelled as airports struggled to deal with the treacherous conditions, while major roads were jammed and rail users faced delays after the country woke to a thick blanket of frost and fog.
There’s worse to come. A weekend of downpours and floods is on the way.
Scroll down for video
Red sky: Frost clings to the grass on Box Hill, Surrey but the red skies signal the changing weather as the 'Beast from the East' fades away
Serene: A frozen pond in front of Bourne Mill in Colchester, Essex, this morning as plummeting temperatures brought travel chaos is many parts of the country
Beautiful: A cyclist stops to capture the stunning contrasts between the golden sun rise against the frost-covered ground over the River Adur in Shoreham, West Sussex
Braving the cold: A woman takes her hardy dog for a walk near Wirksworth in the Peak District
White wonder: An old timber boat carcass sits in the foreground as the sun rises over a hard frost at the estuary of the River Adur in Shoreham
Several airports were hit yesterday.
At Heathrow, thousands of passengers were stranded after 189 flights
were cancelled. Frustrated travellers queued for up to five hours to
London City, Leeds-Bradford and
Bristol airports were also thrown into chaos. With more cold weather and
patches of fog forecast for today, there were fears more flights would
Maureen Goldsmith, 50, and her
daughter Victoria, 24, had to queue for more than two hours at Heathrow
after their flight to Switzerland was affected. ‘We would have stayed at
home if we’d known,’ Mrs Goldsmith said.
The dreaded 'Beast from the East'
cold front has been vanquished by the 'Pest from the West' which will
bring 80mph winds and heavy rain, the Met Office warned today.
Forecasters say that the Beast from
the East, which was meant to blanket Britain in snow and freezing fog,
is no more as the 'atmosphere changed its mind'.
Walkers wrapped up warm to enjoy the beautiful bright morning in Cambridge, where the frost settled along the banks of the River Cam
Rocking robin: Wildlife came out to play on Box Hill in Surrey as a thick covering of frost was left on leaves and hedgerows
Box Hill, where the men's Olympic cycle race took place this summer, was shrouded in cloud and freezing fog for much of the day after temperatures plummeted
bracing themselves for snow don't need the sledges just yet as the UK
is going to get battered by wind and rain instead thanks to the Pest
from the West.
But Met Office forecaster Dan Williams says it is not all bad news, as
Britain is slowly warming up for the weekend as the mercury nudges into
double figures in some places.
He said: 'Forecasters predicted that we were going to see winds from the
East, and colder temperatures would pick up on moisture being dumped,
which becomes snow.
'However, the atmosphere has changed its mind and a strong pressure
system will override that, so the UK will see wet, windy and milder
weather from the West. The Beast from the East is now the Pest from the West.'
the coming days large swathes of the country are expected to experience
adverse weather after one of the coldest nights of the year.
temperature plummeted to minus 10C (14F) in some parts of the country
overnight, with Scotland experiencing the worst conditions.
Frozen mists lift to leave the phenomenon known as hoar frost clinging to the scenery around Wirksworth near Ashbourne, in Derbyshire
Shiver me timbers: A horse stands in -3C in a field near Heathrow Airport, where scores of flights have been cancelled due to the icy conditions, which are also affecting the Pennines in Cumbria (right)
Crisp and even: These trees and fields in Essex are dusted white with frost as temperatures dropped to -5C
Mixed bag ahead: Forecasters said warmer conditions were on the way, but warned it will be accompanied by yet more heavy rain
Where's the green A lone golfer braves the wintry morning to play a round at Strensall Golf Club, near York
overnight cold spots included Chesham in Buckinghamshire at -9C (16F)
and Little Rissington in Gloucestershire where it was -8C (18F).
The River Thames froze at Wargrave, Berks, and canals iced over in London, Birmingham and Stockport.
Dobson, a senior forecaster with the Press Association’s weather
division, MeteoGroup, said: 'Some places where the fog lingers will
struggle to get above freezing today.
'London and the South East, where the sun will eventually come through, may reach around 3-4C (37-39F). But in places such as the Vale of York and in the Scottish Glens it may stay as cold as minus 3C (27F) in daylight hours.
cold spell won’t last. The fog will lift. But although the big change
on Thursday night, with an Atlantic front moving in, will mean higher
temperatures, there is likely to be a lot of wet weather.
'The south of England could be very wet on Friday and we are likely to see wet conditions all the way up to Christmas. The exception could be a short, cold snap in the weekend before Christmas.'
Walking in a winter wonderland: People look at the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire as cold temperatures lead to a frost
A walker ignores the cold and makes their way through Westonbirt Arboretum
A person looks out over a foggy scene near Dursley in Gloucestershire as mist hangs over the village
A gentle, and not so gentle, stroll: This elderly couple go for a walk in Dinton Park, Wokingham, while Tina Dine, Sharron Karsenbarg, Anna Turpin and Lisa Cullen, all from the Hampshire area, were spotted in the frosty valley near St Catherine's Hill, Winchester, during their training for the Kilimanjaro Hike in 2013
Wooly jumpers at the ready: Sheep spotted on top of St Catherine's Hill near Winchester, Hampshire
Poking out from amid the trees, homes from the small town of Wirksworth near Ashbourne in Derbyshire can be seen
The RAC reported a 60 per cent increase
in cold weather call-outs – mainly flat batteries. Bosses expected to
attend 10,000 breakdowns today – the firm’s busiest day so far this
Spokesman Simon Williams said: 'We're exceptionally busy and expect to be flat out again on Thursday morning.'
But Britain is getting of lightly compared to southern Russia and northern Kazakhstan, where temperatures are falling 25C below normal, with daytime peaks of a shuddering -30C.
A gritting lorry was unable to escape the treacherous conditions when it overturned onto its side.
The lorry overturned on the B3351 Studland Road in Studland, Dorset, shedding it's load of salt and grit across the carriageway in the early hours. The route had to be closed in both directions to allow for a clean-up operation to take place.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said:
'The state of the roads is icy due to a heavy frost overnight and are
very treacherous in some areas.
Ice shard: The Shard in London standing out over the freezing morning fog
London vanished: The mist consumes all but the tallest of the capital's buildings this morning
Hoping for white Christmas: Karen Riddy walks in
the snow with two-year-old daughter Molly near their home in
Princetown, Devon, this morning
Snow train: A train travels through a wintry North West London this morning
Pretty: A cobweb has a bejeweled look due to the frosty temperatures in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, after sub-zero temperatures last night
Eager: The cold and frost does nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of this dog as he fetches a ball
Not the day for a swim: This dog seems keen to go for a dip at Rother Valley Country Park, near Sheffield
'We urge motorists to allow plenty of
time for journeys and to drive very carefully. Make sure vehicle
windows are cleared before setting off. Local authority gritters are gritting primary routes but minor roads and estate roads do not come under that policy.'
A woman, aged in her 20s, was flown
by air ambulance to hospital after her car skidded on ice and flipped
onto its roof in Little Berkhamsted, Hertford, Herts.
Last night, a 24-year-old rider of a
Yamaha scooter died when he collided with a red coloured BMW at 8.30pm in Bear Road, Brighton, East Sussex, as much of
the country was blanketed in freezing fog.
A motorist was treated by paramedics
after their car overturned in the freezing conditions on Blacklands
Lane, Newport, Isle of Wight, in rush-hour traffic at 7am.
Breath of fresh air: A woman's breath is backlit during the freezing morning in Regents Park today
The ruff and the smooth: A dog walks through a frosty and foggy Richmond Park, Surrey, as thick fog causes problems for travellers on road and rail and in the air
Up bright and early: Walkers take a stroll through Richmond Park as forecasters warned that while the fog and freezing will pass, there could be more rain on the way
Oh deer, it's winter! Young deer lay together for warmth in Richmond Park as a woman walks along the path amid glorious morning sunshine
Frosty foliage: The ferns in Richmond Park, Surrey, are sprinkled white with frozen dew
Frost clings to plants in Regents Park, London, as the sun rises this morning
Braving the elements: An elderly man goes for a morning jog in a very foggy Richmond Park, Surrey, just few miles from chaotic scenes at Heathrow
Plummeting temperatures have led to a
50 per cent increase in burst water mains across London and the Thames
Valley in the last 12 days, a water company said today.
Thames Water has received reports of more than 1,000 leaking and burst pipes since the start of December.
A spokesman said: 'Bursts increase
when it's icy because water mains, especially the old cast-iron ones,
seize up when water passing through them drops to five degrees Celsius
and below, leading to more breaking along hairline weaknesses.'
Meanwhile, the frozen ground has added another
problem for desperate vegetable growers as they try to meet the demand
for potatoes, swedes, parsnips and Brussel sprouts for Christmas meals.
A prolonged spell of icy weather which will make it difficult to get any remaining crops out of the ground and another problem will be preventing any that have already been harvested from being ruined in their store sheds in the bitter cold.
Members of the public walk through the early morning frost in Hyde Park, London, silhouetted against a fun fair
Frost covers fields and trees as a freezing mist drifts past Arundel Castle in West Sussex where temperatures failed to rise above zero degrees Celsius this morning
Looks Heavenly: Guildford Cathedral covered in frost after the temperature dropped to minus 6 overnight
Get that de-icer at the ready: A thin layer of snow and covers a street in Kensal Rise, north west London, following freezing temperatures overnight
Shrouded: A view from Surrey Hills near Warlingham looking over New Addington showing Canary Wharf enveloped in fog this morning due to the cold temperatures
Beauty and the beast: On a day when fog and ice hits air travel across the UK, the London skyline is seen through a winter mist from Primrose Hill
Many potato growers say they are
facing an uncertain future unless contract prices increase, following a
25 per cent drop in production and an increase in costs of 30 per cent.
The National Farmers' Union (NFU)
says that with about 75 per cent of all British potatoes grown on
fixed-priced contracts, producers have borne the brunt of the large
financial penalty dealt by the unprecedented cold and wet summer weather
– and now they face icy winter conditions.
Yields are down and with thousands of
acres of crops lost to waterlogged and flooded fields, production has
fallen by a quarter nationally.
Tim Papworth, NFU potato forum chairman, said 'I can't remember a year quite like this.
'Our members have been working
exceptionally hard to try to meet their customers' requirements, but the
reality is that we have exceptional producers in this country suffering
significant financial losses that were completely out of their
VIDEO: Planes line up on Heathrow runway after being grounded by heavy fog
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