Page last updated at 22:17 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Snow causes travel disruption across much of England

Snowy airport
Services at several airports have been suspended

Heavy snowfall and ice are continuing to cause severe disruption to road, rail and air services across England.

Eurostar services failed to run for a third day, Gatwick airport's runway has reopened after "de-icing work" but Luton and City airports are shut.

Domestic and European flights from Heathrow Airport have been cancelled.

Snow is affecting many roads around Manchester and the Thames Valley area, while warnings of widespread icy roads have been issued.

Forecasters said temperatures across the country would fall close to or below freezing.

Restricted service

A band of sleet and snow was expected to move from Lincolnshire and Norfolk down through the Home Counties to Hampshire and Dorset.

Services at Luton, Bristol, Southampton, Stansted, City and Gatwick airports have been cancelled or suspended.

Hundreds of people were stranded at Manchester Airport overnight when flights were suspended but the backlog of flights was cleared by the afternoon, with 27,000 people due to depart on 215 flights throughout the day.

Traffic jam in Wandsworth, London, caused by snow
The snow caused lengthy traffic jams in London during the rush-hour

Bad weather in North America and Europe delayed flights arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports for up to six hours.

The runway at Gatwick was closed at 1519 GMT for "essential de-icing work" and re-opened at about 2000 GMT.

Eurostar services were suspended for a third day after six trains broke down although the company has promised a restricted service would resume on Tuesday.

Rail passengers in Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, and Lancashire have been forced to use replacement bus services because of the weather.

Southeastern trains said it would be operating a Saturday timetable service on mainline, metro and high-speed routes on Tuesday, with a normal weekday service for Thameslink trains run via Blackfriars.

The company said there would be additional high-speed services through the day and a shuttle service between London Bridge and Cannon Street during the morning and evening peak times.

Jack-knifed lorry

Roads in Hampshire have become impassable while in Reading, Berkshire, hundreds of drivers were stuck for hours trying to get out of the Riverside car park at the town's Oracle shopping centre.

In nearby High Wycombe, drivers who have been forced to abandon their cars have been advised by Thames Valley Police to go to any supermarket, a sports centre, a local church or the Salvation Army centre.

Donna Webb and her husband Nick reported being stuck in their car between Marlow and High Wycombe for about five hours as they made their way home.

Snow scene
Snow fell in the North West, the Midlands, East Anglia and the South

Mrs Webb said: "My husband came to pick me up from work at about 4.15pm and as we left it started snowing. About 10cm of snow must have come down and the traffic just came to a standstill, there are cars abandoned all over the place.

"We have just reached Handycross roundabout and it's like an ice rink. Nick has even had to get out of the car and give one woman a push."

Another driver told the BBC he had to abandon a journey from Windsor towards the M40 in Buckinghamshire after more than four hours stuck in a queue of traffic behind a jack-knifed lorry and was walking to a hotel.

Dr Sarah Mould from Basingstoke Hospital in Hampshire told BBC News that she and many colleagues would have to "camp out" at the hospital overnight as they would be unable to get home.

Another jack-knifed lorry led to a lane closure on the M6 in Lancashire and another accident resulted in two lanes of the M6 in Cumbria being closed.

Several weather-related collisions were reported on roads in and around Bristol.

The AA reported its busiest day on the roads in 10 years.

By 1500 GMT it had attended around 16,000 breakdowns. Normally, for a whole day on a Monday in December the AA would attend around 10,000 vehicles.

At Luton Airport, flights were suspended until further notice late on Monday afternoon because of the conditions and at Stansted flights were stopped temporarily so snow could be cleared from the runway.

Elsewhere, fears were growing for a 22-year-old man who disappeared in the freezing weather after a night out. Adam Passfield was last seen at 0200 GMT on Saturday in Chelmsford, Essex.

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Icy roads warning for motorists
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