Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Schools and airports closed after heavy snow in England


Heavy snowfall has been affecting the North of England

Hundreds of schools have been closed and airports have suspended flights after heavy snowfall across large areas of England.

Manchester Airport and Leeds Bradford have reopened after closing earlier and there remains no flights out of Blackpool International.

A man died when two lorries collided in the snow on the M60 in Manchester.

Most of England is covered in snow and the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across the country.

Knutsford High School in Cheshire closed because of snow
Hundreds of schools have been closed because of snow

Liverpool John Lennon Airport was closed during various periods of the day and the runway at Birmingham Airport was out of action for two hours, leading to delays and cancellations.

The heavy snowfall is set to continue through the night and into Wednesday and motorists have been warned not to travel unless necessary.

An emergency severe weather warning, the rarest issued by the Met Office, is in place for Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Swindon, west Berkshire, Wiltshire and Southampton, which could see up to to 40cm (15.7ins) of snow in some areas by Wednesday.

Snow is also expected in London and East Anglia.

Buses suspended

In Devon and Cornwall, more than 100 schools were closed due to heating failures and the cancellation of school bus services. The Eden Project in Cornwall was closed due to snow and ice.

More than 100 schools have been closed in Greater Manchester and a similar number in Lancashire. In Merseyside and Cheshire, about 90 were shut.

In Cumbria, about 120 schools have been closed and more than 50 were shut across Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear.

About 250 schools have been closed across West Yorkshire, 60 in north Staffordshire and more than 140 in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Passengers at Manchester Airport discuss the disruption

North West Ambulance Service said it could only respond to life-threatening cases due to the poor weather conditions and urged people to stay indoors.

In North Yorkshire, a man had a lucky escape when his car was hit by a train at a level crossing in North Yorkshire. It is thought the vehicle skidded in snow near Selby.

Bus operator Stagecoach said it had suspended many of its services across Greater Manchester, but was trying to operate on main routes into the city.

Bus services in Merseyside, Sheffield and Barnsley were also suspended. Bus operator First South Yorkshire said a large number of buses were stuck in the snow.

Roads closed

All proceedings at Manchester Crown Court were cancelled for the day due to the weather and filming was also suspended on Coronation Street.

Car in snow in Wetherby, Yorkshire
Heavy snow has caused chaos for motorists

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service warned people not to skate on frozen waters after it's specialist unit was deployed to 13 incidents over the recent cold snap, including the rescue of eight dogs.

Ironically, the city's indoor snow centre, the Chill Factore, was closed due to the snow outside.

Some roads on higher ground in Greater Manchester were described as poor.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "Our advice is if you don't have to travel today - please don't.

"In Oldham and Rochdale - particularly higher ground areas - the snowfall has been really quite heavy.

"Gritters have tried to open those roads up and, I'll be honest with you, they are really, really poor. If you can avoid these areas please do."

Elsewhere in the country 10 train services between London and Leeds on the East Coast Main Line were cancelled.

Budget airline easyJet has cancelled eight flights at its operations at Manchester and Luton airports.

The Highways Agency said a number of roads were closed due to the snow.

It said continuous salt treatment was being undertaken on the motorway network in high risk areas.


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