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Snow chaos across UK as icy blasts causes widespread disruption as Cumbria declares major incident on roads
2 December 2023, 21:17 | Updated: 2 December 2023, 21:19
Snow and freezing temperatures is causing disruption across much of the UK as Cumbria Police declare a major incident - warning that rural communities could be cut off by the weather.
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The Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow in Cumbria throughout Saturday, saying 10-15cm of snow is possible in some areas before showers begin to ease overnight.
The weather service added there was a "good chance that some rural communities could become cut off" and power cuts were likely, with the potential for other services, such as mobile phone coverage, to be affected.
Cumbria Police declared a major incident on Saturday night because of heavy snowfall on the county's roads and said people should only travel where necessary.
The force said a multi-agency response was ongoing on Saturday evening to "minimise the challenges that heavy snowfall is continuing to have on the county's road network".
Cumbria Police said the M6 southbound between J38 and J37 was blocked due to jackknifed 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 J38 and J40.
The Met Office also issued a yellow warning for ice from midnight until 11am on Sunday in Cumbria and north Lancashire, stating that a "few snow flurries may continue into the early hours of Sunday, but the main hazard will be refreezing of any melted snow, or freezing of lying snow".
The weather service said Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland regions of Scotland were likely to see the lowest temperatures on Saturday night, with minus 12C possible in some valleys in these regions.
Met Office chief meteorologist Jason Kelly said: "Snow could be heavy at times across Cumbria with the odd rumble of thunder... 10-15cm of snow is possible before showers begin to ease overnight.
"A low pressure system will bring less cold but more unsettled weather for southern parts of the UK from tonight onwards, although northern areas will continue (to be) cold with wintry showers and sharp overnight frosts.
Earlier in the day, Manchester United were forced to drive to Newcastle for their late kick-off at St James's Park after snow led their flight north being cancelled.
Manchester United's difficulties came 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.
Earlier on Saturday, Cumbria Police said it was aware of multiple reports of vehicles stuck in traffic in the South Lakes area, particularly in the Bowness and Grizedale areas, because of snow.
Superintendent Andy Wilkinson said: "Agencies across Cumbria are working together in response to the impact that heavy snowfall is continuing to have on the county's roads.
"We are working at pace, to help clear roads so those currently affected can get moving.
"I would urge anybody considering travelling in Cumbria tonight, to only do so if necessary. The cold temperatures forecast will make road conditions even more difficult."
Glasgow Airport temporarily suspended all flights on Saturday morning, with the transport hub posting on X, formerly Twitter, at 7.24am that it was doing so because of "heavier than forecast snow".
At 10.20am, the airport posted: "Our runway is now fully operational again and we are working with our airline partners and their handlers to resume flight schedules."
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".