Bitter Spell Continues As Temperatures Plummet As Low As -13C On Coldest Night

Britain had its coldest night of the year as vast swathes of the country fell below freezing – with -13C (8.6F) recorded in Shropshire.

Clear skies overnight saw temperatures plummet below the -12.4C (9.6F) low recorded on Saturday night – with the Met Office recording a new low in Shawbury, north east of Shrewsbury.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place until 11am on Tuesday, covering large parts of the country, including London and the South East, much of the Midlands, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the eastern coast of England and parts of Scotland.

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In parts of Gloucestershire, 36 homes were without power for a second night after ice and snow caused disruption across the country over the weekend.

Western Power Distribution said the outage was caused by the weather and engineers were expecting to have the power restored by 7.30am on Tuesday.

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Meanwhile, dozens of schools in the South West, West Midlands and Wales will keep their gates closed for a second day following the bitterly cold conditions.

The country will also be waking up to freezing fog patches with rain and hill snow expected later in the day.

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Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell told the Press Association: “It’s still possible that it could go lower but in Shawbury we saw -13C (8.6F) which is the coldest night of the year so far.

“We have to go back to the night of February 13/14 2016 when we saw -14.1C (6.6F) in Braemar for the coldest before that.

“Benson saw -9C (15.8F) and Kew Gardens in London had -4.2C (24F) and Teddington saw -4.8C (23F).”

He added that there was the potential for a “dusting” of snow on higher levels over coming days, and that there was a risk of problems caused by rain falling in already icy areas.

“It will take a good few days for the snow to melt away,” he added.

At least 16 departing flights from Heathrow were cancelled on Tuesday as airlines continued to recover from disruption caused by heavy snow.

The UK’s busiest airport said its runways were open and fully operational.

British Airways said it planned to operate a “near normal schedule” on Tuesday but passengers due to fly to or from Heathrow were given the option of a full refund or re-booking for travel until December 18.

AA president Edmund King said the firm expected Tuesday to be “extremely busy” as freezing temperatures cause “even more hazardous conditions on already wet and slippery roads”.

He urged drivers to take emergency provisions such as chocolate bars, water, a torch and a shovel in case of a breakdown.

The AA recorded its busiest day of the year on Monday with 24,000 callouts.

Rail operators did not report any major disruption due to the cold weather on Tuesday, although delays and cancellations across the entire South Western Railway network following a trackside fire at London’s Waterloo station on Monday were expected to continue until 4pm.