FREEZING temperatures and snow caused travel chaos yesterday, with weather warnings in place for much of Scotland.
Scottish rail passengers were also left stranded in London after services at one of the UK’s busiest rail terminals ground to a halt.
Trains in and out of King’s Cross were cancelled yesterday because of overrunning Network Rail engineering works north of the station, with a reduced service today.
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Queues of people gathered at Finsbury Park station in north London, where all East Coast and Thameslink & Great Northern passengers were being diverted, with some passengers claiming the station was unable to cope.
Air and ferry travel was disrupted, while heavy snow left car and coach passengers stranded for hours in parts of the north of England. Some drivers in Yorkshire woke up in their cars yesterday, having been stranded overnight.
The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for ice across the UK, as temperatures are set to plunge over the next couple of days, dropping to as low as minus 9C in some areas by tomorrow night.
Ice warnings for Scotland remain in place today and further warnings are likely to be issued in the next few days.
Despite the plummeting temperatures, the weather north of the Border is likely to be dry and bright for the next couple of days – until Hogmanay, when the east of Scotland will be blighted with high winds and revellers in the west face heavy rain showers.
On Friday night, more than 100,000 homes in England were left with power shortages as heavy snow wreaked havoc on electricity cables.
Staff worked through the night to reconnect customers, but around 3,000 in the East Midlands were still affected.
The north of England and the Midlands were the worst affected by the snowstorms, with 11cm of snow falling in Leek, Staffordshire. Flights in and out of many Scottish airports including Edinburgh and Glasgow experienced delays yesterday, with routes to and from the Scottish islands badly affected.
In the north of England, both Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Leeds Bradford International in Yorkshire closed while their runways were cleared of snow, as a band of wet weather crossed the country from Merseyside and North Wales through the Midlands and Yorkshire.
Many passengers at Manchester Airport also faced long delays – with some planes stuck on the runway for several hours, waiting for de-icing lorries to clear planes of snow.
A spokesman for the RAC said that drivers in the worst-affected areas were experiencing “big problems”.
He said: “We are rescuing people who are bogged down in snow there. That seems to be the biggest area of problems in the UK.
“We are seeing higher volumes of calls than we would usually get on a Saturday this time of year. Some motorists are abandoning their vehicles.”
A coach full of people travelling from Sheffield to London had to take refuge in a church after their bus became stuck in snow before leaving the city.
The Met Office said yesterday that clear spells last night were set to push temperatures sharply downwards, which would allow ice to readily form on untreated surfaces.
“It is likely there will be more ice warnings in force over the next few days,” said spokesman Simon Partridge. “It will be dry with quite a few sunny spells over the next few days, although it will get very cold, going down to minus 8C or 9C in some areas – initially inland and on high ground, but in south-eastern Scotland by Tuesday.”
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