Flood risks and black ice alerts follow Storm Emma's snow

3 March 2018, 03:23

The snow may be easing off in some places, but treacherous conditions are set to continue with a high risk of coastal flooding and "death trap" black ice on the roads.

Drivers are being warned to stay off the roads, as freezing rain creates treacherous conditions and major travel disruption across the UK.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The RAC has urged people not to drive unless necessary, and asked those who must venture out on the road to check their lights and tyre treads.

The extreme weather has now claimed its 10th victim, hiker Alison Fox, 51, who became lost in snowy Scottish hills near Stirling on Thursday.

:: LIVE: Warnings as towns cut off and ice moves in

Risk to life warnings have now been lifted in Britain, but have been extended in Northern Ireland, where a red "take action" warning is in place in the eastern counties.

Tens of thousands of homes, farms and businesses were left without power in Ireland on Friday, with those in the greater Dublin area and on the east coast worst affected.

While a gradual thaw will take place across the southwest over the weekend, Paul Gunderson, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, warns that colder conditions could continue in the North, with a continued risk of snow, sleet and rain.

"As we head into next week there is likely to be more of a North-South split in weather conditions.

"The less cold air means there will be a gradual thaw, but this will freeze again overnight so ice is likely to be an additional overnight hazard together with low cloud and fog."

In what is now the coldest start to March on record, hundreds of motorists found themselves stranded in their vehicles for up to 17 hours on Friday after a "major incident" was declared on the A303 in Wiltshire.

Troops were called in to help evacuate drivers, with the Army and Royal Marines also drafted in to help in similar incidents across Hampshire, Somerset, Shropshire, Devon, Cornwall, Tayside and Fife.

Airmen from RAF Wittering stepped in to help nursing, care and medical staff get to patients following the fierce wind and deep snow that made many of Lincolnshire's roads impassable.

Red Cross volunteers across the UK are working alongside the emergency services helping people affected by Storm Emma all across the country.

Elsewhere, parts of the M62 were shut, with some motorists spending all night on the road.

Rail users have not escaped the travel mayhem, with passengers on a London to Bournemouth service trapped for nine hours due to a "frozen conductor rail" at Brockenhurst station on Thursday night.

On Friday evening, commuters risked electrocution after forcing open the doors of a train in Lewisham and jumping down to walk along the tracks after it became stuck due to ice.

In Dublin, just hours after the city's worst snowstorm in decades, a Lidl supermarket was looted using a JCB digger to break down the wall. Nine people have been arrested following the incident.

Many farmers in rural communities across Wales and Ireland are spending another day digging their sheep out of snowdrifts, with the risk to flocks particularly high due to the approach of lambing season.

Photos have been shared on social media of shops in snow-hit areas of Scotland showing empty shelves as basics like bread and milk ran out.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney called on shoppers to be "patient and sensible" when purchasing food and fuel following the extreme weather conditions.

Around 1,250 flights have been cancelled from UK and Irish airports, with long delays at Heathrow and Gatwick.

There have been cancellations and delays on the majority of train lines, with Southern, South Eastern Gatwick Express and Thameslink passengers advised not to travel.

There are also closures to main roads, including the A303 in the south of England, A1 in the Northeast and the Transpennine routes M61, A628 and A66.