Page last updated at 20:19 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009
UK prepares for freezing weekend



Travel disruption and school closures are continuing for a fifth day amid more heavy snowfall across the country. This was the picture at 1800 GMT.

WALES

Roads: One of the two main crossings over the Severn between Wales and England has reopened.

BBC reporters at both ends of the Severn Bridges which closed after ice fell onto cars

Both crossings were closed earlier in the day when ice began falling from the top of bridge structures onto cars and smashing windscreens.

Traffic Wales said the M48 Severn Bridge had reopened one lane in both directions with a speed limit of 50mph.

However, the M4 Second Severn Crossing remains fully closed.

Elsewhere, motorists have been warned to make journeys only if necessary following heavy snow, with up to four inches falling near Brecon in Powys.

The A470 is shut between Merthyr and Brecon and the M4 is shut between junctions 22 and 23 in both directions.

The Highways Agency said normal traffic conditions would not return to the M4 until 2300 GMT.

First Cymru warned of disruption to bus services, particularly in parts of south Wales.

Schools: More than 300 schools are closed across Wales, mainly in the south.

Other transport: Cardiff airport is open. Arriva Trains Wales reported no disruptions to its services.

SOUTH WEST

Roads: The M5 southbound in the Exeter area has reopened after shutting for some time though driving conditions are said to be difficult between junctions 22 - 30.

Cars stuck in snow on A38 in Devon
Some motorists abandoned their cars and walked to nearby hotels

In Devon, the A38 at Haldon Hill, near Exeter has reopened after 200 people had to be rescued from their stranded vehicles there on Thursday evening.

Schools: More than 800 schools have closed across the West.

All schools in Bath and North East Somerset are closed, as well as another 150 in other parts of Somerset.

More than 300 schools in Wiltshire, including Swindon, were closed, and more than 200 were closed across Gloucestershire.

Other transport: After being closed most of the day, Bristol airport re-opened at 16:00. A limited schedule of flights is operating. Easyjet cancelled all of its evening flights from Bristol.

Bus services were suspended in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North Somerset.

First Great Western trains has reported some cancellations and delays. Exeter airport is open but operating with delays.

SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST

Hampshire, Berkshire and southern Oxfordshire have all seen heavy snowfall.

WEATHER AND TRAVEL LINKS

Roads: The A34 in south Oxfordshire has reopened after an earlier closure.

One lane of the the southbound M3 motorway near Basingstoke was shut for a period, but the road has begun operating normally despite more snowfall.

Luton Borough Council issued an official warning telling people to avoid the town unless absolutely necessary.

Schools: All schools in Buckinghamshire plus 63 more in Cambridgeshire are closed. 100 are closed in Berkshire.

There are 190 school closures in Bedfordshire. In Hertfordshire 170 schools have shut so far.

Other transport: Reading Buses said it had suspended all its services in Newbury, while Stagecoach buses has suspended all services in the Witney area of Oxfordshire.

First Great Western trains is running a reduced service between Henley-on-Thames and London Paddington.

Flights have now resumed at London Luton Airport but remain subject to delay and or cancellation. Easyjet has cancelled its flights from the airport.

Some other flights have also been cancelled.

MIDLANDS

Roads: The A43 towards Brackley and the M40 were blanketed in snow but traffic is now operating normally according to the Highways Agency.

Schools: Heavy snow for a second day in Northamptonshire has led to the cancellation of all county council school transport, while 133 schools are closed.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire have seen heavy snow, with 42 schools closed across the two counties.

Kettering General Hospital has cancelled all out-patient appointments and scheduled minor operations for a second day.

Other transport: Virgin Trains has reduced services between London and Birmingham and between London and Manchester from three trains per hour to two trains per hour.

All other services are expected to operate, but journey times to all destinations will be extended by between 20 and 30 minutes.

Some flights to and from Birmingham airport are slightly delayed.

SCOTLAND

Roads: The Met Office issued a severe snow warning for the Grampian area, with drifting snow causing renewed problems.

This was after commuters experienced easier travel conditions on Friday morning.

Grampian Police said the B974 was closed and several roads were passable with care, including the A93 west of Crathie and the A96 Huntly to Inverurie road.

Schools: Scottish councils were forced to shut almost 200 schools. Aberdeenshire Council closed 84 schools, Aberdeen 12, Moray 36 and Highland 41.

Other transport: Aberdeen Airport closed its runway on Friday afternoon because of heavy snowfall. It has now been cleared and the runway re-opened.

Efforts were being made to clear the runway. ScotRail announced that buses are replacing trains between Elgin and Huntly because of heavy snow.



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