Warning to commuters after coldest night of the year

Don't forget to leave extra time to defrost the car this morningDon't forget to leave extra time to defrost the car this morning
Don't forget to leave extra time to defrost the car this morning
Commuters are again being urged to leave extra time to travel today after Britain shivered through its coldest night of the year.

Main routes are open today but side roads and back streets are icy.

A Met Office yellow warning remains in place for the entire North East coast until 11am today.

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It says: "Ice is expected to form on some surfaces from mid-afternoon Monday, and overnight into Tuesday morning.

"Wintry showers may also bring some fresh snowfalls, mostly to higher ground.

"Accumulations of 2-5 cm area possible, again mostly above 100-150 m in places in eastern Scotland and eastern England. Some roads and railways are likely to be affected with some journey times taking longer.

"There will probably be icy stretches on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths with some injuries from slips trips and falls."

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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 -12.4C (9.6F) 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 vast swathes 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.

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.

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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.

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 AA said it had its busiest day of the year on Monday with around 25,000 calls from motorists - and was preparing for a deluge of calls on Tuesday.

AA president Edmund King said: "We expect Tuesday to be extremely busy as temperatures plummet overnight, causing even more hazardous conditions on already wet and slippery roads.

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"All of our patrols are working hard throughout the country to help those broken down or stuck in ice and snow and we have plans in place to ensure our call operators can travel to and from work safely to answer emergency breakdown calls."

After snowy and freezing conditions brought problems to road, rail and air on Monday the threat of delays and cancellations lingers today.

At Heathrow, where dozens of flights were shelved on Monday, 16 departures are listed as cancelled for Tuesday with the airport advising passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

Cancellations are also reported at Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports. Airlines had previously said the re-positioning of aircraft and crews from previous days was adding to the problems.

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National Rail is not reporting any major disruption to train journeys owing to the weather - but added services running to and from London Waterloo could be disrupted until 10am following a line-side fire on Monday.

Scores of schools are set to be closed for a second day as the cold weather continues to cause disruption.

All council-run schools in Birmingham were shut on Monday following the hazardous conditions, but the blanket closure is not in force for Tuesday.

Nearly 80 schools are listed as closed in Staffordshire, with many citing untreated paths and fears that snow will have compacted into ice as reasons for keeping the gates closed.

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Gloucestershire, which saw around 200 schools closed on Monday, will have 80 schools closed on Tuesday, while more than 90 will be closed in neighbouring Herefordshire.

Pupils at 123 primary schools and 25 secondary schools in Shropshire will have a second day off owing to the weather, while in Wales hundreds of schools will be shut on Tuesday, with Caerphilly and Powys particularly affected.

The TUC has called on employers not to force staff to make hazardous journeys into work, saying firms in areas of the country affected by the snowy conditions should have put out advice to their staff on what they should do when snow, ice and a lack of public transport prevents them getting in.

Policies should also cover what parents should do if schools close and they have no alternative childcare, said general secretary Frances O'Grady, adding: "It is essential that employers don't force staff to make dangerous journeys for the sake of presenteeism.

"For many employees the bad weather will have made their commute virtually impossible, but thankfully many bosses now have 'bad weather' policies so staff know what is expected of them."