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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 17:15 GMT
Freezing weather hits parts of UK
Car in snow
A car lies abandoned near Northallerton, North Yorkshire

Snow and bitter winds have swept across some areas of Britain in the first cold snap of the New Year.

The Met office issued a severe weather warning as strong easterly winds brought freezing temperatures to Scotland and north east England.

In the Angus area a motorist died when his car slipped off the road and down an embankment.

The Highways Agency warned drivers to be careful and to pack extra clothing in case of breakdowns.

Snowdrifts

Worst affected are central and northeast Scotland, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Forecasters said that snow up to 30cm deep may settle on Scottish hillsides and up to 4cm on lower levels.

With temperatures just above freezing point, there has been some snow in southern England, but not as much as some councils expected.

The forecast for Friday is more snow in Northern Ireland and the north of Britain, but rising temperatures in the south.

As time goes on the risk of snow in the south diminishes by the minute
Darren Bett, BBC Weather Centre

In Scotland, the motorist who died was driving on the A90 Brechin by-pass, north of Dundee. Police say cold weather conditions contributed to the accident.

Two other minor road accidents in the Moray area in the Scottish Highlands are also being blamed on the icy conditions.

In England, police briefly closed part of the A1 northbound between Gosforth and Morpeth in Northumberland.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "A number of vehicles became stuck in the snow and as a result police decided not to allow any more through until conditions improved."

Cleveland police assisted several motorists involved in minor accidents following heavy falls in the Saltburn area.

A Cleveland police spokeswoman described conditions as "treacherous" and urged drivers to postpone journeys until the weather improves.

In neighbouring County Durham, police said most roads were passable, but only with care.

Light showers

Snow has also been falling - but not settling - as far south as Bexhill in Sussex.

A spokesman for Kent County Council said what has fallen so far "has not been anything like as heavy" as expected.

By late Wednesday afternoon no snow had fallen in London - although there were some light showers in Bracknell, High Wycombe and Reading.

Little girl and snowman
In Hull, Lee Platts' daughter Rachel enjoys her first snow

Weather experts say the snow has been caused by cold air from the Continent meeting rain over the North Sea.

Darren Bett of the BBC Weather Centre said: "As time goes on the risk of snow in the south diminishes by the minute.

"However, on Friday we are predicting more snow in Northern Ireland and on hills in northern England and Scotland."

In the south, the snap will be short lived with temperatures rising to around 7 degrees C in the English midlands.

Plymouth is the south west is set to enjoy an above-average temperature of 10 degrees C.


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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Snowfall in Scotland and the North East of England



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