UK

Snow Descends Across UK As Heathrow Cancels Flights And Country Braces For More Bad Weather

Snow began falling on London late afternoon.

12/01/2017 15:11 GMT | Updated 12/01/2017 19:46 GMT

Gales, snow and heavy rain have brought traffic chaos to Britain, as Londoners marvelled at snowfall.

Fights were cancelled, roads were closed due to ice and traffic incidents and a town in Essex is due to be evacuated.

Heathrow Airport has cancelled at least 80 flights in preparation before snow started to fall on the capital late on Thursday afternoon.

Snow fell across the city as the evening rush hour began, in places like Kingston and Croydon to Hampstead and Muswell Hill.

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Snow falling near Tower Bridge
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Victoria Jones/PA Wire

In a statement on its website, Heathrow said: “Wintry weather is forecast at Heathrow and across the UK and airlines will be adjusting their schedule as a result.

“If you are travelling, check the status of your flight with your airline and please allow extra time for your journey to the airport.”

Luton Airport said its flights were not affected.

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Snow falls at the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, as blizzard conditions are set to sweep in

According to Sky News, Gatwick Airport cancelled four flights and passengers are being advised to check their flight status before they travel.

Drivers were also warned that they could face disruption on their journey home on Thursday evening.

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Lorries in the snow on the A66 near Brough
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A man clears snow from his driveway in Braco, near Stirling

Earlier on Thursday, Highways England said: “Heavy rain will spread across Southern England and the South Midlands through today with sleet and snow falling over hills.

“This rain will lead to a large amount of spray, large puddles and potentially localised flooding.

“It is looking likely that this rain will turn to snow across most of the South East of England and East Anglia with significant disruption to travel possible during the evenings rush hour and drivers should stay tuned to the latest forecasts.

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Traffic moves in snowy conditions in Ballymena, Co Antrim

“Compounding the effects, winds across the Southeast will become very strong with gusts 50-60 mph possible for a short time.”

The Essex village of Jaywick is set to be evacuated from 7am on Friday because of potential flooding caused by rain and strong winds.

Police officers were going house to house in the village, near Clacton-on-Sea, on Thursday afternoon to warn people that a full evacuation plan is being implemented in the face of rain and high winds, which could lead to floods.

In Lincolnshire, the army was going door-to-door warning people of the storms.

Snow settled in Godalming in Surrey.

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And drivers across the country struggled in the evening rush hour.

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Drivers in snowy conditions near Wrotham in Kent
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Cars make their way through snowy conditions on the M3 motorway near Winchester

RAC spokesman Simon Williams says: “Driving in rain, snow and ice is a real danger so the best advice is to drive more slowly, leave far more space behind the car in front than normal, and expect the unexpected.

“If you are unlucky enough to find yourself slipping and sliding on the road, change to a higher gear to gain traction, be gentle with the accelerator and you should keep control. Also, remember to give yourself more time to brake and apply the pressure on the brake steadily. “

The Met Office had serious weather warnings in place for large swathes of the country.

The chief forecaster said: “The stream of very cold air will continue to affect much of Britain, bringing a mixture of hazards. 

“Amounts of snow will be very variable, and snow could turn back to sleet or rain for a time during the day in some areas.”

Travellers in Scotland were particularly badly hit on Thursday, with the M74 closed temporarily in the southbound direction at junction 8 in South Lanarkshire because of ice.

The southbound A9 was also partially blocked after a lorry jack-knifed at Newtonmore on Thursday morning, the BBC reported.