Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Weather warnings in place across parts of UK again

A snowy road in Cirencester
Some minor roads in Gloucestershire were closed because of the snow

Rain, sleet and snow are again affecting many parts of the UK, weather forecasters say.

The Met Office has issued warnings of heavy snow in parts of Wales, the West Midlands, London and southern England.

The snowfall caused 50 schools across Gloucestershire to close for the day, while a meeting at Newbury Racecourse was abandoned due to the weather.

Forecasters say much of the snowfall will not settle but will be washed away by rain.

Conditions are expected to be drier in most places overnight, although there is due to be light rain and snow in parts of western Scotland.

However, the weather has not matched the Arctic conditions experienced across the UK during recent weeks.

The snow has affected colder, inland areas - with many places seeing around 1-3cm (0.39-1.18in) of snowfall.

School closures

South Wales valleys, Powys, Monmouthshire and north Wales are expecting snowfalls of between 5-10cm (2-4in), particularly on higher ground.

Gloucestershire County Council has said students' external exams are still expected to go ahead this week despite school closures.

The weather caused severe delays in that area, with police again being forced to use 4x4 vehicles to reach traffic accidents.

The A419 at Sapperton was closed due to a jack-knifed lorry while police blamed snow for delays on the A436 at Severn Springs.

Nine schools in Shropshire, 13 in Herefordshire and seven in Worcestershire closed because of the weather.

WEATHER AND TRAVEL INFO
Get the latest on school closures and travel problems via your BBC Local website
Check if snow is forecast in your area at BBC Weather
Details of motorway and local road closures and public transport disruption are available at BBC Travel News
For advice on handling difficult driving conditions, see the Highways Agency website
For information about severe weather warnings, see the Met Office website
For information about staying healthy in the cold weather, see the NHS Winter Health website

Seven schools in Torfaen and one in Powys were also shut.

Newbury Racecourse clerk Richard Osgood said he made his decision to abandon Wednesday's meeting after rain turned into snow.

He said: "It's getting worse and the snow is falling on the course and it's dangerous."

Forecasters say that most of the snow is settling on fields and verges.

The Environment Agency has issued several flood warnings as higher temperatures combined with heavy rainfall could result in snow thawing more quickly than expected.

A spokesman said: "Generally river levels are falling across the country, although temporary defences remain in place at Upton-on-Severn."

The latest snowfall has been caused by cold air colliding with a band of rain coming in from the Atlantic.

BBC meteorologist Philip Avery said: "An incursion of milder air from the Atlantic had displaced the colder, continental air that had dominated the UK's weather for many weeks."

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This is the weather forecast for the British Isles.

The cold snap comes as the UK prepares to receive stores of grit ordered from abroad.

On Tuesday Transport Secretary Lord Adonis advised ministers that stocks of gritting salt were being replenished after supplies were heavily depleted by the snowfalls of recent weeks.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that the bad weather between 13 December and 19 January affected the punctuality of the UK's trains.

Network Rail said 20% of trains across the network failed to run on time.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said that train companies had managed to keep services running in "extremely testing circumstances" and staff had worked "around the clock" to "ensure disruption remained at a minimum".



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Telegraph Schools close, rivers swell and inflation rises as more snow sweeps in - 2 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Chaos as wintry weather returns - PA - 15 hrs ago
The Independent Fresh snow brings chaos to schools and roads - 19 hrs ago
The Sun Four inches of snow on the way - 33 hrs ago
Mail Online UK Commuter chaos expected as freezing winds from Continent bring MORE snow - 33 hrs ago



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