A little snow… and a lot of chaos: Airports and roads are hit as less than an inch falls
Southern England, the Midlands, the North East, Wales and Scotland were hit by brief snow shower early yesterdayMore than 40 flights cancelled in brief closures at five major airports and delays of up to three hoursSleet, frost and ice caused traffic chaos with ten-car pile-up on the London-bound A299 in Whitstable, Kent
Disruption on trains with rail replacement buses in operation and services cancelled and delayed
Last night council bosses admitted they had been caught out by the winter weatherIn Essex alone, at least ten people were injured in 45 crashes

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UPDATED:

01:40 GMT, 6 December 2012

A dusting of snow caused chaos at airports and on roads yesterday as council bosses admitted they had been caught out by the winter weather.

Southern England, the Midlands, the North East, Wales and Scotland were hit by a brief snow shower early in the morning after forecasters warned temperatures would plunge to minus 8C.

In most places the snow amounted to less than an inch but it grounded more than 40 flights, closed schools and left major roads in gridlock.
Five airports, including Stansted and Luton, closed temporarily, leaving passengers stranded.

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Wheels go round: Trapped drivers were forced to hop out of their cars and push when the snow and ice in Essex became too bad

Wheels go round: Trapped drivers were forced to hop out of their cars and push when the snow and ice in Essex became too bad

Struggle: A woman battles her way through a blizzard in Scarborough yesterday morning after forecasters warned temperatures would plunge to minus eight

Struggle: A woman battles her way through a blizzard in Scarborough yesterday morning after forecasters warned temperatures would plunge to minus eight

Travel misery: Commuters wait for a delayed train at Stoke Mandeville station near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Travel misery: Commuters wait for a delayed train at Stoke Mandeville station near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Danbury traffic

Heavy snow in Danbury

Woefully under-prepared: There were huge
tailbacks in Danbury, Essex, yesterday after the council took three hours to
get gritters out clearing the slush

Overnight shock: Heavy snow in Danbury, Essex, pictured, caused severe travel problems with around 50 accidents, gridlocked roads and dozens of schools closed

Overnight shock: Heavy snow in Danbury, Essex, pictured, caused severe travel problems with around 50 accidents, gridlocked roads and dozens of schools closed

Closed off: Up to 40 cars were left stranded on the A171 between Guisborough and Whitby after blizzard conditions caused a lorry and cars to jack-knife in deep snow

Closed off: Up to 40 cars were left stranded on the A171 between Guisborough and Whitby after blizzard conditions caused a lorry and cars to jack-knife in deep snow

‘We had early snow followed by
falling temperatures and then more snow, which settled on ice,
compounding the problem,’ said Mark Davison from Stansted airport.

‘It
was certainly worse than had been forecast. We had the runway open
again within two hours which, under the circumstances, we are satisfied
with. A total area of 500,000 square metres needed to be cleared.’

Conditions
on the roads were hazardous with a ten-car pile-up on the London-bound
A299 in Whitstable, Kent. In Essex alone, at least ten people were
injured in 45 crashes.

In the North East, motorists were stranded in
their cars for hours because the treacherous Birk Brow Bank, between
Whitby and Guisborough, in North Yorkshire, was covered in ice and snow.

/12/06/article-2243251-165BEDD0000005DC-562_964x498.jpg” width=”964″ height=”498″ alt=”Chaos: Blizzard conditions causing visibility problems for motorist near Whitby, North Yorkshire, after heavy snowfalls ” class=”blkBorder” />

Chaos: Blizzard conditions causing visibility problems for motorist near Whitby, North Yorkshire, after heavy snowfalls

Ski slope: A boy cycles carefully down an icy road with a snow-covered Colchester in the background

Ski slope: A boy cycles carefully down an icy road with a snow-covered Colchester in the background

A mother walks her children to school through the snow in Colchester, Essex

Heavy snow in Danbury

Trudging on: A mother walks her children to school through snow in Colchester (left) while teenagers make their own way to class in Danbury, Essex (right)

Powder puff: Ethan Hall, 10, from Batley creates his own blizzard on Holme Moss in the Peak District, near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Powder puff: Ethan Hall, 10, from Batley creates his own blizzard on Holme Moss in the Peak District, near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

Police
condemned ‘tank commander’ drivers who didn’t bother to defrost their
windscreens properly. In a survey, one in three admitted to driving
without being able to see out of their windscreen.

Officers have
called them ‘tank commanders’ because of the way they peer through small
slots in their snow-covered windscreens and have no visibility to the
side or rear.

They urged them to take an extra few minutes to make sure their screens were clear.

Passengers stranded at Stansted were incredulous at the trouble caused by such a small amount of snow.

Patrycja Kubiak, 20, from Poznan in Poland, was due to fly home at 7.05am but at 8.30am was told the flight was cancelled.
‘It
was snowing in Poznan yesterday, and they just had minor delays,’ she
said. ‘It’s just too much panic for that amount of snow.’

Back in the
UK, forecasters predict a bright start to today with a few snow flurries
rapidly turning to heavy rain.

Arduous journeys: A driver scrapes a thick layer of snow off his windscreen in Danbury

Arduous journeys: A driver scrapes a thick layer of snow off his windscreen in Danbury

Wrecked: The crumpled bumper of a car after it hit another vehicle in a snowy North East of Scotland near Banchory, Aberdeenshire

Wrecked: The crumpled bumper of a car after it hit another vehicle in a snowy North East of Scotland near Banchory, Aberdeenshire

Forecasters warned up to six inches of snow could fall last night – causing further travel mayhem across the country today.

The
Met Office issued severe weather warnings as experts predicted up to
an inch of snow at low levels across the South-East, East, North and
Scotland.

Some areas
over 250m in the north of England were expected to see up to four inches of snow
with parts of Scotland over 400m could see up to six inches.

The
Met office weather warning for the UK today states: 'After a very
cold night with widespread frost, sleet and snow will spread from the
west during the early hours of Thursday.

'At lower levels 2 or 3 cm of snow
is likely locally before turning to rain from the west through the
morning. Despite turning to rain, the lying snow and ice will struggle
to melt and this will bring some treacherous conditions.

'The public should be prepared for
the risk of significant disruption to travel, especially over the M8
corridor to the east of Glasgow, across Perthshire and over much of
inland eastern Scotland. '

It
comes after forecasters admitted they were taken by surprise when
unexpected heavy snow blanketed the South of England overnight.

Experts
wrongly said on Tuesday that London and the South East would be
'cold and dry' with 'scattered showers – some wintry' in the South West.

Good Samaritan: A taxi driver who slid sideways into a parked 4x4 borrows a shovel to spread grit

Good Samaritan: A taxi driver who slid sideways into a parked 4×4 borrows a shovel to spread grit

 DANGEROUS ROAD JUNCTION IN THE SNOW BOUND STREETS OF THE HILLY AREA OF NORK, BANSTEAD VILLAGE DURING EARLY MORNING SNOW FALLS

A JAPANESE TOYOTA PEOPLE CARRIER CRASHES INTO A PICK-UP TRUCK AND DESTROYS A GRIT/SALT BIN ON A STEEP DOWNWARD SLOPE IN NORK

Smashes: Cars pile up at the dangerous junction
in Nork, Banstead village (left), while a Toyota people carrier crashes
into a pick-up truck on a hill in the area (right)

High risk: The Toyota left a grit/salt bin in pieces as it slid into another car

High risk: The Toyota left a grit/salt bin in pieces as it slid into another car

Frightening: Drivers struggle through blizzards near Whitby, North Yorkshire, after heavy snowfalls caused travel disruption across much of the east of England, and with more wintry weather forecast for the rest of the week

Frightening: Drivers struggle through blizzards near Whitby, North Yorkshire, after heavy snowfalls caused travel disruption across much of the east of England, and with more wintry weather forecast for the rest of the week

They only predicted that snow would
settle in the North, with four inches on high ground and just two inches
remaining lower down by morning.

Instead,
a band of snow wreaked havoc as it moved down across the south of
England, with the unprepared home counties awaking to wintry scenes and
travel chaos.

Met Office spokesman Mark Wilson admitted yesterday that forecasters had not expected the extreme weather.

He said: 'The snow has been heavier
than we first thought and it has brought the snow to lower levels. It
was in the forecast, but the actual snow that fell was to lower levels
than we had earlier forecast.

'This is in the nature of forecasting. It is difficult. The issue of snow was mentioned in the forecast, but on higher ground. '

Mr
Wilson, who was speaking on the London radio station LBC’s Nick Ferrari
Show, said the weather would improve in England by the weekend – in time for two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

VIDEO: Disgruntled passengers stopped from getting onto planes at Stansted

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'Saturday and Sunday will be crisp and dry,' a Met office spokesman said.

Commuters
faced misery trying to get home, as the frosty weather meant that
trains were disrupted across the whole South West Trains network with
some trains being delayed by up to 60 minutes, with some trains also
being cancelled, National Rail said.

In addition to this, a reduced service was running to and from London Waterloo.

Glenn
Young, head of safety at the East of England Ambulance Trust, warned
people to be careful in icy and snowy conditions, especially on
ungritted surfaces.

Stansted, Luton and other major airports closed briefly yesterday morning after a blanket of snow covered the country overnight.

More than 40 flights were cancelled
at Stansted in Essex, which was forced to shut between 6.20am and 8.20am, just before the
first planes were due to take off.

Aberdeen,
Manchester and Newcastle were among the other airports where the wintry
conditions caused major delays, while a number of main line rail
services and Tube trains were delayed.

A deadly mix of
snow, sleet and rain yesterday morning caused havoc on the roads after roads
turned into ice rinks in temperatures as low as -6C in Strathallan,
Perth.

The AA issued 29
traffic alerts as the
band of snow moved south-east over the country from the North, reaching
London and its surrounds just in time for the morning commute.

Jumping for joy: As the big freeze spreads across the country, two very excited spaniels leap for joy as they go for a walk in the first snowfall of winter near Flash, in The Peak District near Leek, Staffordshire

Jumping for joy: As the big freeze spreads across the country, two very excited spaniels leap for joy as they go for a walk in the first snowfall of winter near Flash, in The Peak District near Leek, Staffordshire

Catch! John Stodter plays with his dog Robbie in snowy Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

Catch! John Stodter plays with his dog Robbie in snowy Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

Adam MacDonald 16 sledging with Amy Milne 4

Aboyne

Play time: Adam MacDonald, 16, also made the most of the weather in Aboyne by taking Amy Milne, four, sledging (left)

In the pink: The sky may be dark and cloudy, but Adam and Amy bring a ray of sunshine to the frosty landscape

In the pink: The sky may be dark and cloudy, but Adam and Amy bring a ray of sunshine to the frosty landscape

Mr
Wilson added: 'We are going to see another band of
rain making its way south eastwards. It looks as if there is a risk of
winteriness on this forward edge – particularly on high ground on
Thursday night.

'Once that clears in the early hours of Friday morning, the rest of Friday and the weekend brings a much drier picture.

'There will be a good deal of
sunshine around and I think the risk of sleet and snow will be much
reduced by this point, so it is an improving picture as we move towards
the weekend.'

Michael Dukes, director of forecasting at MeteoGroup, said the cold snap was due to remain for 'some time yet'.

Watch where you're going! A hedgehog hurries through the snow in Haddenham, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, yesterday morning

Watch where you're going! A hedgehog hurries through the snow in Haddenham, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, yesterday morning

Feeling prickly: It was a chilly morning for wildlife - but an accurate forecast probably wouldn't have helped

Feeling prickly: It was a chilly morning for wildlife – but an accurate forecast probably wouldn't have helped

Enjoying the snow: A dog leaps into the air to catch a snow ball while its owner looks on in Bedfordshire

Enjoying the snow: A dog leaps into the air to catch a snow ball while its owner looks on in Bedfordshire

MOTHER AND DOG IN AMPTHILL, BEDFORDSHIRE

A DOG CATCHING A SNOWBALL IN AMPTHILL PARK ,BEDFORDSHIRE

Cool canines: A dog out walking with a mother in Ampthill Park, Beds (left), and a more excitable pup leaping in the snow nearby (right)

P-p-p-pick up a penguin: This group at Whipsnade Zoo felt perfectly at home in the freezing conditions

P-p-p-pick up a penguin: This group at Whipsnade Zoo felt perfectly at home in the freezing conditions

Grim up north... Blizzard on /12/05/article-2243251-165C1F18000005DC-95_964x641.jpg

…and down south: A mother walks her son to school through a white field in Hertfordshire yesterday

He said last night would be cold, with some areas seeing temperatures plunging to as low as minus 8C (18F), with another band of rain and snow due to affect Scotland and the North West England.

He said yesterday: 'Tomorrow morning will be a bit of a problem. Right at the end of tonight another band of rain and snow comes into Scotland and the North West of England. That will fall on very, very cold roads because it will have been cold overnight,' he said.

'There could be some widespread ice issues tomorrow morning in Scotland and in north west England.

'There will be some rain, sleet and snow falling over frozen ground.'

He said the snow had amounted to no more than 'one or two centimetres in places' – but it still threw the nation's transport links into chaos.

Extreme weather: Sleet, rain and snow lashes Stansted yesterday morning, forcing it to close just before the first flights were due to take off at 6am

Extreme weather: Sleet, rain and snow lashes Stansted yesterday morning, forcing it to close just before the first flights were due to take off at 6am

Trapped holidaymakers: The airport reopened at 8.20am, following the cancellation of more than 40 flights, while Luton and Aberdeen also suffered delays

Trapped holidaymakers: The airport reopened at 8.20am, following the cancellation of more than 40 flights, while Luton, Manchester and Aberdeen also suffered delays

Grounded: Snow ploughs clear runways at Newcastle airport, which closed yesterday morning after heavy snowfall

Grounded: Snow ploughs clear runways at Newcastle airport, which closed yesterday morning after heavy snowfall

Holiday nightmare: Luton Airport's runaway shut until 8am yesterday morning to allow snow to be cleared, causing flight delays

Holiday nightmare: Luton Airport's runaway shut until 8am yesterday morning to allow snow to be cleared, causing flight delays

Cold start: Snow hit London at around 7am, just in time to cause disruption to the morning commute. Pictured, Streatham Common, south London

Cold start: Snow hit London at around 7am, just in time to cause disruption to the morning commute. Pictured, Streatham Common, south London

Wrapped up: Workers dressed in boots and furry coats hide under their umbrellas as soft flakes of snow cover the ground

Heavy snow in Essex Danbury, pictured, has caused severe travel problems

Wrapped up: Workers dressed in boots and furry
coats hide under their umbrellas as soft flakes of snow cover the ground
in London, left, while a dog walker in Danbury, Essex, grabs a pair of gloves for her ramble

Tricky climb: A man walks up a steep snow covered hill towards the Esplanade on the South Cliff after snow showers hit Scarborough early in the morning

Tricky climb: A man walks up a steep snow covered hill towards the Esplanade on the South Cliff after snow showers hit Scarborough early in the morning

Snow-side resort: Dog walkers ignore the dismal weather as they set out during the first snow fall for Scarborough along the North Bay

Snow-side resort: Dog walkers ignore the dismal weather as they set out during the first snow fall for Scarborough along the North Bay

Lone traveller: A cyclist battles his way along the front in the North Yorkshire seaside townLone traveller: A cyclist battles his way along the front in the North Yorkshire seaside town

Lone traveller: A cyclist battles his way along the front in the North Yorkshire seaside town

Heavenly sight: St Margaret's Church, overlooking the small, snow-covered village of Aislaby, North Yorkshire as light shines through the clouds

Heavenly sight: St Margaret's Church, overlooking the small, snow-covered village of Aislaby, North Yorkshire as light shines through the clouds

Ice cream with sprinkles: The North Yorkshire village looked chocolate-box pretty with a light dusting of white

Ice cream with sprinkles: The North Yorkshire village looked chocolate-box pretty with a light dusting of white

Motorists were left stranded on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire, as heavy snow fell across the UK

Motorists were left stranded on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire, as heavy snow fell across the UK

A Stansted spokesman said: 'Northern Essex seems to have got the worst of the snow and we had to shut the airport at 6am.

'The
roads round here are treacherous. We’re working to get the airport open
again and hope to start flights again some time this morning. We’re
advising passengers to check with their airlines.'

Flights to Rome, Milan and Barcelona were cancelled before the airport reopened more than two hours later at 8.20am.

Stranded passengers spoke of their frustration over the cancelled flights.

Extra cold: A white Christmas looks promising as the dual carriageway leading into Newcastle is coated in a thick blanket of snow in the first week of December

Extra cold: A white Christmas looks promising as the dual carriageway leading into Newcastle is coated in a thick blanket of snow in the first week of December

Cold climate: The North East of Scotland on the Banchory in Aberdeenshire looks like a frozen foreign country

Cold climate: The North East of Scotland on the Banchory in Aberdeenshire looks like a frozen foreign country

Scraping by: A car valet has a long day ahead of him as he starts to clear snow off cars at Birkbrow Motors near Guisborough

Scraping by: A car valet has a long day ahead of him as he starts to clear snow off cars at Birkbrow Motors near Guisborough

Patrycja Kubiak, from Poznan in Poland, was due to fly home on the 7.05am flight, but at around 8.30am she was told it had been cancelled.

The 20-year-old music student said passengers for nine or 10 flights to destinations including Warsaw and Poznan in Poland, the Canary Island Fuerteventura and Berlin in Germany were forced to wait.

TRANSPORT CHAOS: BY AIR

Luton: Closed 6.40am-7.40am while snow was cleared. Three flights cancelled and delays of up to two-and-a-half hours on all flights.

Stansted: Closed 6-8.20am, now reopened but more than 40 flights delayed.

Newcastle: Closed its runway for clearing because of heavy snowfall. Not expected to reopen until 12.15pm.

Manchester: Shut 7.30am-8.10am to clear ice. One inbound British Airways flight diverted to Liverpool during closure but is due to return shortly.

Aberdeen: Closed briefly at 7.30am and 8am. Four flights cancelled and others delayed.

Southend: One easyJet flight was an hour late leaving and returning from Amsterdam.
A spokeswoman said all operational and passenger areas are clear of snow.

She said: 'It snowed for 30 minutes, and we were waiting by the gates. We were all waiting for an hour.

'They kept saying the flights were delayed, and after an hour and a half they said all flights were cancelled.

'It was really cold and really unpleasant, and the gate had no carpet. I was sitting on the floor.

'Some of the people were stuck for two hours on the planes.'

The flautist, who was in Cardiff for an audition on Tuesday, said they were given incorrect information by staff.

'Somebody checked on her phone and it
said on the website that the flights were cancelled, but the lady on
the gate said “No, they are just delayed”. half an hour later she said
we were right.'

Miss Kubiak said she would have to go
back into London to a friend's house to look for other flights – or
even buses – back to Poland.

'I really have to get back home,' she said. 'There's a slim chance of getting our money back.

'I'm just standing in a really long
queue from the beginning of the departures terminal to get a voucher to
say the flight was cancelled.

'We have to buy a ticket if we want to get another flight, but I don't know if they will pay us back.'

She added: 'I'm just surprised that such a small amount of snow can cause these problems. It only snowed for half an hour.

'There's no snow on the roads now. The snow started to melt shortly after it started snowing. I can't imagine the airport has no forecast for this.'

She said the weather in Poland is frequently cold, but they manage to deal with the snow.

'It
was snowing in Poznan yesterday, and they just had minor delays,' she
said. 'I think it's just too much panic for that amount of snow.'

Foghorn: A train rounds a corner slowly in the dim light, with the snow triggering many delays and cancellations in the South-West and South-East

Foghorn: A train rounds a corner slowly in the dim light, with the snow triggering many delays and cancellations in the South-West and South-East

Holidays are coming: A snowy street near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where drivers awoke to major delays on the roads

Holidays are coming: A snowy street near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where drivers awoke to major delays on the roads

Spreading south: The bands of sleet and snow reaches Purley, Croydon, as it heads towards Kent and Sussex

Spreading south: The bands of sleet and snow reaches Purley, Croydon, as it heads towards Kent and Sussex

TRANSPORT CHAOS: BY ROAD

Vehicles as commuters battle to get into London and the surrounding areas.

Many roads in the Home Counties were snow-affected, with the A505 blocked between Hitchin and Letchworth in Hertfordshire.

A2 in Kent facing poor driving conditions, as was the A120 in Essex. A12, A1220 and A127 stationary with some drivers reporting travelling just 150 yards in two hours.

The A171 near Scarborough was one of Yorkshire’s snow-hit routes.

Cars stranded southbound on the A1 and on the A5 at Dunstable during rush hour this morning.

South East badly affected, particularly in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridge and Southampton.

As of 9am, there were delays on the M1 between junctions 13 and 11, M11 at junction 8 on to the M25.

There was a 10-vehicle crash on the London-bound A299 at Whitstable in Kent this morning. The road reopened but traffic was moving slowly.

At least ten injured in 50 crashes in Essex.

A43 closed in Northamptonshire following a lorry crash this morning.

One lane closed because of snow this morning on the M40 in Oxfordshire near junction 10.

Eija Martin, from Finland, was also among those delayed as she attempted to return home after a five-day holiday.

She said: 'For us, this is crazy. A couple of inches of snow, which we would think nothing of in Finland, has caused so much chaos.

'They really should be better prepared to cope with problems like this.'

Steven Ingram, 56, and Stephen Allen,
49, both from Watford, were due to fly to Spain to watch Barcelona’s
match against Benfica last night.

Spurs fan Mr Ingram said: 'We left
home at 3am for a 6.35am flight. We were on board and ready to go and
then were told we’d have to get off again.

'The crazy thing was, we had to come back through passport control even though we hadn’t gone anywhere.

'We’ve been queuing for several hours and we’re still hoping we will get to Barcelona for the match tonight.

'With the travel to the airport, 65
match tickets and all the other costs involved, this could set us back
quite a lot of money.'

Mr Allen, who supports Leeds United, said: 'The most frustrating thing is nobody is telling us what’s going on.'

Tony and Marion Smith, from Bawdeswell, Norfolk, were due to fly to Fuerteventura to begin a three-week holiday. They had also boarded their 6.30am flight when they were told it would not be taking off.

Mr Smith said: 'The most annoying
thing is the lack of information. We have tried visiting the Ryanair
website but it doesn’t seem to be updating.

'You can’t help the weather, but there could be better organisation when problems like this happen.'

A statement on Ryanair's website said yesterday: 'We regret that, due to snowfall, the runway at London's Stansted and Luton Airports were closed for a time this morning.

'The runways have reopened and Ryanair advises passengers intending to fly today to travel to their airport as normal.

'Ryanair was forced to cancel the below flights and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by these runway closures.'

Passengers who were booked to travel on listed cancelled flights were allowed to transfer free of charge to the next available flight or apply for a refund.

Mark Davison, head of communications
for Stansted, said 23 outgoing and 20 incoming flights were cancelled.
Most of these were Ryanair, which operates the majority of flights from
the airport.

Mangled car: Police survey the wreckage after a smash in snowy Sussex yesterday

Mangled car: Police survey the wreckage after a smash in snowy Sussex yesterday

Shocking: The possible fatality was one of many accidents on the roads today in treacherous icy conditions

Shocking: The possible fatality was one of many accidents on the roads today in treacherous icy conditions

Serious crash: Emergencies service at work after a serious crash in Sussex

Serious crash: Emergencies service at work after a serious crash left one vehicle completely crushed in Sussex

He said: 'We had early snow followed
by falling temperatures and then more snow, which settled on ice,
compounding the problem. It was certainly worse than had been forecast.

'We had the runway open again within
two hours which, under the circumstances, we are satisfied with. A total
area of 500,000 square metres needed to be cleared.

'Obviously nobody likes to be delayed
and we have sympathy for those who have been affected, but we are doing
everything we can to help them.'

Ruff day This bedraggled cream coloured dog may find himself blending in with the snow soon

Ruff day This bedraggled cream coloured dog may find himself blending in with the snow soon

Co-ordinated: This commuter's umbrella looks perfectly elegant against the snowflakes

Co-ordinated: This commuter's umbrella looks perfectly elegant against the snowflakes

Lights on: Essex experienced very heavy snowfall yesterday morning, causing a nightmare for road users in Colchester, pictured, as well as those heading to local airport Stansted

Lights on: Essex experienced very heavy snowfall yesterday morning, causing a nightmare for road users in Colchester, pictured, as well as those heading to local airport Stansted

TRANSPORT CHAOS: BY TRAIN

Major disruption ‘due to the severe weather conditions’ on Reading/Windsor lines, South Wester Mainline, West of England, Portsmouth Direct and service through the major commuter stations of Surbiton and Cobham, in Surrey.

South West trains advised passengers to travel only if ‘absolutely necessary’. Announced there will be a reduced service running from Waterloo.

First Capital Connect services delayed by to 40 minutes and trains through Woking and between Reading and London Waterloo are running up to two hours late.

Major delays on busy commuter routes in London and the South East will not improve all day because of ‘severe ice on the track’.

First Great Western and Southeastern experiencing cancellations and delays of up to 45 minutes.

Buses replaced trains between Redhill in Surrey and Tonbridge in Kent and Lewes and Polegate, in East Sussex.

National Rail said buses were running from Ashford International, Maidstone East, Ramsgate, Dover Priory and Faversham because of 'snowy and icy conditions'.

No trains ran on London Overground between Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone until 10am yesterday morning.

Angry commuters described ‘chaos’ at Clapham Junction.

Trains unable to run between Barnes and Hounslow via Brentford in west London, delays between London and Ashford International in Kent and also between Sevenoaks in Kent and Hither Green in south east London.

The Metropolitan, Central and Bakerloo Tube lines were also delayed, while a faulty train led to delays on the Victoria line.

Luton Airport's runway was closed
between about 6.40am and 7.40am while snow was cleared but reopened later in the day and was trying to clear the backlog of delayed flights.

There
were three cancellations at Luton, but a spokeswoman said that after delays on every departing flight lasting up to two-and-a-half hours this morning, they had 'caught up' and were operating a normal service.

Newcastle Airport has closed its runway because of heavy snowfall.

A spokeswoman said it has been shut for snow clearing and was not expected to open until 12.15pm yesterday.

She said: ‘The snow team are operational and the runway will open as soon as snow clearing is completed.’

Football fans due to fly to Bordeaux ahead of Newcastle’s Europa League match today were anxiously waiting at the airport.

The flight was due to leave at 11am yesterday but passengers were told to wait for updates.

At Newcastle United Training Centre groundsmen were forced to clear the pitch of snow before footballers could begin their practice.

And drivers struggled to see out of their windscreens as they negotiated the central motorway leading into Newcastle during a blizzard.

Manchester Airport said it expected no further delays from about 11am yesterday after it had to shut in the morning to clear ice.

It suspended operations for 40 minutes from about 7.30am but reopened at about 8.10am.

One inbound British Airways flight had to be diverted to Liverpool during the closure.

A spokesman said: ‘There has been a little bit of a knock-on effect but we are pretty much back to normal.’

At Aberdeen Airport, flights to Birmingham,
Scatsta in the Shetlands, Wick in north east Scotland and Stavanger in
Norway, were cancelled.

It closed for 25 minutes yestreday morning to clear snow from the runway after heavy snow at 7.30am.

The airport was shut from 8am to 8.25am and one flight was cancelled and others delayed.

London Southend, Southend, Essex, reported one-hour delays on two flights.

It remained open all morning yesterday but one easyJet flight was one hour late in leaving and returning from Amsterdam.

On the railways, passengers who have endured floods and a series of other problems of late were yesterday hit by massive disruption after just the first signs of snow.

South West trains yesterday morning
reported major disruption ‘due to the severe weather conditions’ on the
Reading/Windsor lines, South Wester Mainline, West of England,
Portsmouth Direct and service through the major commuter stations of
Surbiton and Cobham, in Surrey.

The company advised passengers to
travel only if ‘absolutely necessary’ because of the freezing conditions
and said it would put customer compensation arrangements in place.

It
said ‘severe ice on the rail tracks’ is responsible for the chaos on
services in and out of London Waterloo. Engineers have been dispatched
to the affected areas to try to clear the ice.

You'll freeze! Newcastle players jog in the snow during a training session on the eve of their UEFA Europa League Group D match against Bordeaux

You'll freeze! Newcastle players jog in the snow during a training session on the eve of their UEFA Europa League Group D match against Bordeaux

Newcastle was hit by a blizzard as heavy snow coated roads throughout the area and snowplows were forced to help out

Newcastle was hit by a blizzard as heavy snow coated roads throughout the area and snowplows were forced to help out

A three-day forecast shows the icy weather will continue into Friday

A three-day forecast shows the icy weather will continue into Friday

First
Capital Connect services were delayed by to 40 minutes and trains
through Woking and between Reading and London Waterloo wererunning up to
two hours late.

Major delays on busy commuter routes in London and the South East did not improve because of ‘severe ice on the track’.

There was also disruption to many trains run by First Great Western and Southeastern, with cancellations and delays of up to 45 minutes.

Buses replaced trains between Redhill in Surrey and Tonbridge in Kent and Lewes and Polegate, in East Sussex.

National
Rail said buses were running from Ashford International, Maidstone
East, Ramsgate, Dover Priory and Faversham because of 'snowy and icy
conditions'.

Travellers in Surrey were warned that several Southern and South West train services are not calling at certain stations along several routes.

No trains were able to run on London Overground between Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone, with services not due to restart before 10am.

Trains were unable to run between Barnes and Hounslow via Brentford in west London, while there were delays between London and Ashford International in Kent and also between Sevenoaks in Kent and Hither Green in south east London.

The Metropolitan, Central and Bakerloo Tube lines were also delayed, while a faulty train led to delays on the Victoria line.

v

Dangerous: Warnings were out both for drivers and pedestrians on the roads amid traffic chaos

Angry commuters took to Twitter to complain about the ‘chaos’ at Clapham Junction.

ODDS OF WHITE CHRISTMAS FALL

William Hill yesterday said they had been forced to
trim the price of a White Christmas again after significant snowfall
across the country sparked a surge in betting.

Aberdeen is now just 2/1 to see snow, while Edinburgh is 5/2 and Buckingham Palace is 4/1 from an original 8/1.

'We are already sweating on a
possible record White Christmas payout and with snow on the ground
things can only get worse.' said Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the
bookmakers.

William Hill latest White Christmas odds:

2/1 Aberdeen (Pittodrie Stadium);
5/2 Edinburgh (Castle); 5/2 Glasgow (Cathedral); 4/1 Belfast (Airport);
4/1 London (Buckingham Palace); 4/1 Newcastle (Albemarle); 5/1
Birmingham (Bullring); 5/1 Dublin (Airport); 5/1 Leeds (William Hill
Head Office); 5/1 Liverpool (Albert Docks); 5/1 Manchester (Granada
Studio); 6/1 Bristol (Filton); 6/1 Cardiff (Millennium Stadium)

*Snow
can fall at any time during the 24 hours of Christmas day. Snow already
lying on the ground does not count as a White Christmas.

Delays across the South East were believed to have caused passenger congestion on the platforms of the
station, which calls itself Europe’s busiest.

Elbie25 wrote: ‘If everyone trying to
getting (sic) on a train at Clapham Junction manages it without a
fatality today it will be pure luck. That was scary.’

CalKing wrote: ‘Announcement at Clapham Junction: ‘sorry there’s no trains’ END OF MESSAGE’.

Roger Ridey added: ‘It seems the 8.02 from Clapham Junction to Weybridge was
invisible as it hasn’t been cancelled as is not on the board.’

The Highways Agency said there have been ‘no problems due to the snow’.

A
spokesman for the agency, which is responsible for the strategic road
network in England, said: ‘Traffic is moving slower as you would expect
for the conditions. But we have had no lane closures.’

The
AA, however, said they had many reports of stranded vehicles as
commuters battled to get into London and the surrounding areas.

/12/05/article-2243251-165C501C000005DC-182_964x418.jpg” width=”964″ height=”418″ alt=”As the big freeze spreads across the country, two very excited springer spaniels leap for joy as they go for a walk in the first snowfall of winter near Flash, in the Peak District ” class=”blkBorder” />

As the big freeze spreads across the country, two very excited springer spaniels leap for joy as they go for a walk in the first snowfall of winter near Flash, in the Peak District

Snow ploughs clear runways at Newcastle airport as airports around the country experienced severe snowy weather

Snow ploughs clear runways at Newcastle airport as airports around the country experienced severe snowy weather

And while the roads suffered from the heavy weather, the countryside was affected too.

There was a landslip on a stretch of coast near Sidmouth, Devon.

It happened near Pennington Point, a short distance from the site of another landslip last week.

East Devon District Council said it has held talks with the Environment Agency and Devon County Council to assess the situation.

The council said the latest landslip
was as a result of erosion from above after heavy rain, and not because
of wave erosion below.

Council deputy cabinet member for
environment Phil Twiss said it was 'entirely predictable' given 'the
heavy falls of rain in recent months'.

He said 'There is little that can be
done to prevent this and other future falls when there is further
penetration of water from above.'

Stranded motorists on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire as snow fell across the UK

Stranded motorists on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire as snow fell across the UK

A white Christmas looks promising for the north east, as Newcastle is coated in a thick blanket of snow in the first week of December

I like your new coat! A white Christmas looks promising for the north east, as Newcastle is coated in a thick blanket of snow in the first week of December

There
was a 10-vehicle crash on the London-bound A299 at Whitstable in Kent yesterday morning, after a low-speed skid. One car had to be towed away, but
no one was injured. The road reopened and traffic was moving slowly.

As of 6am yesterday, Essex Police said there had been 45 crashes in Essex with at least 12 people injured, but none seriously.

Dozens of schools across Aberdeenshire and Essex closed.

Picturesque: A beautiful wintry scene of snowy mountains rising up behind a farm in Lochearnhead, Stirling

Picturesque: A beautiful wintry scene of snowy mountains rising up behind a farm in Lochearnhead, Stirling

Tree-zing: First signs of snow outside Heathfield School, Ascot, were gleefully posted on Twitter this morning

Look out of the window! Heavy snow is still falling in Newcastle after streets were given a Christmassy look

Tree-zing! First signs of snow outside
Heathfield School, Ascot, were gleefully posted on Twitter yesterday morning,
left, while families in Newcastle uploaded their pictures of heavy snow
giving the streets a Christmassy look

Essex County Council, which just 24 hours earlier had boasted how prepared it was for wintery conditions, was forced to apologise after it took three hours to respond to the weather.

The worst problems were on the region’s
main roads – traffic on the A12, A1220 and A127 was stationary with some
drivers reporting travelling just 150 yards in two hours because of
just two inches of snow.

Cllr Derrick Louis said: 'We were caught out -and the weather took us by surprise. We responded as quickly as we could but it did take three hours to get the gritters out.'

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: 'Our contractor Balfour Beatty has been out six days on the trot laying ten grams of salt on the roads.

'Seven thousand tonnes are now in stock at depots across West Sussex. We are prepared and ready to go.'

Brighton and Hove City Council said: 'Our gritters will be out on the streets again later today as we are expecting a heavy frost.'

In Lewes, council spokesman Garry Collins said 'We are acutely aware o