UK temperatures plunge as cold snap disrupts roads

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Roads have been treacherous for drivers in Cumbria
By James Gregory & Louisa Pilbeam
BBC News

Temperatures have fallen below freezing in parts of the UK, with 15cm of snow causing disruption on the roads.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice have come into effect for the north west of England, the Midlands, the south, and parts of Wales and Scotland.

Drivers in Cumbria have told the BBC they have been in stop-start traffic with no food or water for up to 19 hours.

Meanwhile, the mercury has dropped to -12C (10.4F) in Scotland.

A “major incident” has been declared in Cumbria after heavy snowfall, with police urging people not to travel on Sunday unless necessary.

Ant Brett, from Essex, travelled to Cumbria for a family wedding but the conditions meant he was travelling for 19 hours and never made it.

He ran out of food and water and said emergency services or other organisations were not delivering supplies to the cars where he was stranded.

“I’ve been stuck since 4pm on Saturday,” he told the BBC while waiting on the A595.

“I was heading up to a family wedding – it’s fair to say I didn’t make it. The cars here haven’t had any water or food supplies. I’m down to my last bit of water and having to ration it. I know the emergency services are busy but we’ve just been left here without help.”

Paul Smith was stuck on a local road heading towards the town of Ambleside on Saturday evening after experiencing serious delays on the M6 motorway.

“The snow just came down and as you can see the road all the way down is still blocked,” he said.

“We’re still about a mile-and-a-half from Ambleside and it’s just been like moving ten yards, stopping and moving again.”

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said it was utilising its 4X4 vehicles to help “vulnerable people stuck in the snow as required”, adding that it was assisting at reception centres.

Cumbria Police said the M6 southbound motorway between junctions 38 and 37 was blocked on Saturday due to jack-knifed lorries and that the A595 between Millom and Furness was impassable.

National Highways said it was also dealing with a large number of stranded vehicles on Saturday evening, particularly on the M6 between junctions 38 and 40.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice for the area from midnight until 11:00 on Sunday.

Further south, a yellow weather warning for ice is in place from midnight until 08:00 for London, the east of England, the West Midlands and parts of south Wales.

Separately, an amber cold-health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency remains in place for five regions in England.

Cold weather is likely to affect the whole health service, with the potential for the entire population to be at risk, the agency says.

The alert is in place for the East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber until 5 December.

Heavy snow has also been causing disruption across Europe this weekend.

Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have been hit by train and flight cancellations, with the German weather service predicting that 30-40cm of snow could fall by Saturday evening.

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