Snow and ice warning in place for much of England and Scotland this weekend

15 January 2021, 15:13 | Updated: 15 January 2021, 16:29

A cyclist on the snow at Blackmoss Reservoir in Barley, Pendle, Lancashire
A cyclist on the snow at Blackmoss Reservoir in Barley, Pendle, Lancashire. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A snow and ice warning has been issued for much of Scotland and parts of England for the weekend as the cold weather threatens travel.

Efforts to press on with the vaccine rollout and treatment continued despite the bad weather, with Leeds University delaying the opening of its asymptomatic Covid-19 test centre.

It said: "We know travel in the snow can be tricky, so if you are late you will still be seen."

Read more: UK's Covid R rate down slightly, but cases still rising in some regions

Over-80s who were due to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at Newcastle's Centre for Life were told they could re-book rather than risk making a trip in the icy conditions.

Newcastle Hospitals tweeted: "There's enough vaccine for everyone, so don't worry about making a trip to Newcastle."

The Met Office said a band of heavy snow may lead to travel disruption amid a yellow weather warning for snow and ice for Scotland, northern and central England on Saturday.

But Public Health England has put a new cold weather alert in place until 9am on Monday January 18 for most of the country.

Dr Owen Landeg, a Principal Environmental Public Health Scientist at PHE, said: "As harsh wintry conditions persist across much of the country, it’s really important to keep checking on frail or older neighbours and relatives, especially those who live alone or with a serious illness.

"Make a call, or socially-distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them of important health advice such as keeping their homes heated to at least 18°C, 64.4 Fahrenheit, and to wear shoes with a good grip if they need to go outside.

"Food is also a vital source of energy so reminding them to have plenty of hot food and drinks will also help to keep them safe and well through the cold weather."

Steve Ramsdale, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "The weather is staying unsettled over the weekend, with a snow and ice warning in place across many eastern parts of the country for Saturday.

"There will be spells of heavy rain at times which will likely fall as snow or sleet.

"After temperatures recover by Sunday, it will remain unsettled through the early part of next week. However, colder conditions are forecast to return from midweek.

Freezing fog patches and plummeting temperatures saw an icy start to Friday which led to a loss of gas supply to approximately 700 homes in the Hebden Bridge area. Water had got into the local gas network and frozen.

Engineers from Northern Gas Networks who were brought out to try and restore the supply found a large plug of frozen water in one of the pipes.

In Bottesford, Leicestershire, cars made their way through a flooded road on Friday.

The River Roding in Essex burst its banks as a large swathe of England was covered by 30 flood warnings by Friday lunchtime.

Brighter Futures, which supports people with homelessness, mental health and other complex needs, said its severe weather emergency procedure is active due to the cold weather forecast.

It provides homes, hostels and health services in the Midlands and is giving emergency accommodation for everyone it sees, including people who are sleeping rough in Stoke-on-Trent or Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Heavy snowfall amid Britain's cold snap has already caused travel disruptions across sections of northern England and Scotland.

One of the jurors in the trial of Pawel Relowicz, who denies raping and murdering student Libby Squire, was unable to get to Sheffield Crown Court on Friday due to the weather.

The case was also postponed on Thursday when three jurors failed to make it through the wintry conditions in Sheffield.

Temperatures were as low as -6C (21.2F) early on Friday in parts of Yorkshire and Cumbria.

The Met Office published advice from the Department for Transport advising people to clear snow and ice from footpaths outside their homes.

"You can then cover the path with salt before nightfall to stop it refreezing overnight," the advice says.

Mark Millins, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the bad weather was having a "severe impact" on its operations and urged people to "take extra care" when out walking or driving.

The deepest snow on Thursday was in Bingley, West Yorkshire, and Strathallan in Perth and Kinross, both of which recorded 11cm.

Becky Mitchell, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "Saturday is the next day we could potentially see some snow."

Saturday's Met Office weather warning states: "At first the main hazard may be rain falling onto frozen surfaces leading to ice, especially on higher level routes. However, snow becomes more likely during the early morning.

"Heavier snowfall is more likely above 200m in Scotland and northern England, where 5-10cm of snow may accumulate, possibly 20cm on highest routes."

Areas at lower levels and further south could be see up to 2-5cm of snow or face rain or sleet.

East Anglia along with parts of Kent and Sussex should also be braced for snow on Saturday, according to the Met Office yellow weather warning.

Between 1-3cm of snow may fall fairly widely over these areas, with 5-10 cm possible in places, mostly over parts of East Anglia and any higher ground.

The warning added: "Given recent wet weather and high river levels with rain and snow falling, then melting some flooding impacts are also possible."