Snow chaos across UK as icy blasts causes widespread disruption, as Manchester United's flight to Newcastle axed

2 December 2023, 12:35

Manchester United have had to rethink their travel plans
Manchester United have had to rethink their travel plans. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

Manchester United were forced to cancel their flight to Newcastle for the clubs' Saturday evening Premier League clash as snow and freezing temperatures caused disruption across much of the UK.

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Erik Ten Hag's side had been planning to make the journey from north-west to north-east England at 11am on Saturday - but were forced to rethink by the weather.

They decided to take the team bus to Newcastle instead, which is a three-hour journey, Mail Online reported.

It comes as the football world is urged to take climate change more seriously by cutting down on flights. The Football Association has been asked by campaigners to send the England team to Euro 2024 in Germany by train, rather than plane.

Meanwhile Premier League sides took 81 domestic flights to and from 100 matches between January 19 and March 19 2023.

Read more: Is it going to snow this weekend? Map of ice warnings in place as -10C Scandinavian freeze hits UK

Read more: Brits to be buried in '600-mile wall of snow' as Scandinavian freeze sweeps the UK with up to 10cm set to fall

Snow in Glasgow, as scattered weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK as temperatures plunged below freezing overnight.
Snow in Glasgow, as scattered weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK as temperatures plunged below freezing overnight. Picture: Alamy

Manchester United's difficulties come as snow and icy weather disrupts flights and other travel arrangements across much of the UK.

Temperatures have dropped to below zero in many parts of the country, and the mercury could fall to -12C overnight.

Glasgow Airport suspended flights until 8.40am because of the heavy snow. Flights resumed later on Saturday morning.

An FA Cup football match and Scottish Premiership games were also called off, while a horse racing event was also scrapped because of the freezing conditions.

People walking along Embankment in London on Saturday
People walking along Embankment in London on Saturday. Picture: Alamy

Several train services were cancelled or delayed on Friday morning, including Euston to Glasgow, and other regional trains in Scotland, as snow continued to fall. Icy rail conditions also caused a power failure in Kent, meaning the Southeastern service between Dover Priory and Ramsgate was suspended.

Strikes by train drivers have also affected East Midlands Railway and LNER services on Saturday.

Forecasters have warned that icy conditions could make driving more dangerous too, and have urged people behind the wheel to take care.

The Pentland Regional Park in Scotland
The Pentland Regional Park in Scotland. Picture: Alamy

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice covering much of the Midlands, Yorkshire and north and central Wales.

The weather service warned some roads and railways are "likely to be affected" by the conditions, with longer journey times by road, bus and train.

The Met Office added there would probably be some icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths resulting in "some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces".

The yellow weather warning, issued just before 9.30am on Saturday, follows others for snow and ice that have already been issued for parts of Scotland, Cumbria, the eastern coast of England and a yellow warning of ice in the South West of England.

Forecasters also extended a weather warning for snow and ice in Cumbria, northern Lancashire and the Scottish coast south of Dumfries.

The yellow weather warning is in place throughout all of Saturday. The weather service warned that 1-3cm of snow is possible at low levels and 2-5cm on higher ground.

The Met Office added that further snow showers could combine with icy surfaces to lead to some disruption to road, bus and train services.

Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said temperatures would be around -3C or 4C for many towns and cities on Saturday.

She said: "There'll... be some snow showers continuing across southwestern Scotland throughout Saturday morning, mainly falling over the high ground above one or 200 metres, but there could be some sleetiness (sic) to lower levels across parts of the Lake District, for example, by lunchtime.

"Elsewhere, though we'll see the mist and fog slowly clear, it could remain quite murky for a lot of the morning across central and eastern areas.

A view of Corgarff Castle in Scotland
A view of Corgarff Castle in Scotland. Picture: Getty

"The best sunshine will be across northern areas of Scotland, but further south and west, you can see things starting to change a little bit (by Saturday afternoon) with a greater risk of some showers."

She said as winds shifted to more south-westerly, temperatures would slowly rise through Saturday, feeling a little less cold in the southwest.

"Elsewhere, though still feeling bitterly cold, not much above freezing," she added.

"Those showers in the southwest then do push further inland throughout Saturday night, and as they bump into the colder air, they could bring some snow to parts of Wales and central areas such as the Peak District, for example.

The Angel of the North statue in Gateshead
The Angel of the North statue in Gateshead. Picture: Alamy

"There is a little of uncertainty with that one, but it's only likely to bring a little dusting of snow by Sunday morning."

The forecaster said the lowest temperature recorded on Friday was minus 9.4C in Shap in Cumbria.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said at 10.20 :"Our runway is now fully operational again and we are working with our airline partners and their handlers to resume flight schedules.

"Passengers should continue to contact their airlines for further info.

"Thank you to everyone affected for their patience and understanding."

The areas with the most snow on Friday were Aviemore, Invernesshire, 5cm; Albemarle, Northumberland, 2cm; Bingley, West Yorkshire, 2cm; and Loftus, Cleveland, 1cm.

Crewe's match with Bristol Rovers in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday has been called off and rearranged for December 12, with the playing surface deemed unsafe.

A number of Scottish Professional Football League matches were likewise postponed ahead of the weekend, with Dundee United's trip to face Morton at Cappielow called off and the game between Ayr and Arbroath at Somerset Park.

Weather warnings are in place
Weather warnings are in place. Picture: Getty

Saturday's high-profile racing fixture at Newcastle, which was due to stage the return of Constitution Hill, has been abandoned due to snow on the track.

The UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office have issued amber cold health alerts in five regions: the East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber until December 5, meaning "cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time".