Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Temperatures fall to -17C in England

A28 near Ashford in Kent
Drivers face dangerous conditions

England experienced its second coldest night of the winter, with temperatures plunging to -17C (1.4F) in one Greater Manchester village.

It follows a record -18C on Wednesday night and has left many schools closed and councils struggling to grit roads.

The compacted snow and ice has left many roads and pavements in a treacherous state once more and caused disruption for travellers.

Easyjet has cancelled some flights at Gatwick, Liverpool and Stansted.

Passengers are advised to check the status of their flights before leaving for the airport.

South West Trains, Southern and Southeastern are among the train companies operating revised timetables.

More snow

Up to 4,000 homes in Reading are without water after a main burst outside the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Thames Water said engineers were working to fix the problem and bottled water was being delivered to those whose supplies had been cut off.

The Bristol ferry boat company has decided to suspend services after the harbuor froze over.

Woodford in Greater Manchester recorded the lowest temperature overnight of -17C (1.4F) and remained the coldest place in England on Friday. It was -15.5C (1.4F) at 1000 GMT.

More snow is forecast for eastern England. Up to 10cm (3.9in) of snow is expected to fall over the North York Moors later and up to 5cm (2in) in Kent.

A Met Office spokeswoman said: "It's going to stay very cold and quite windy.

"The cold weather will stay with us over the weekend as well when there will be further snow showers in north east and south east England."

Fewer roads were closed, but early morning ice created dangerous conditions.

Police advised drivers in many areas not to travel unless their journey was essential.

A 30mph speed limit was imposed on the A1 from Northumberland to North Yorkshire because of "treacherous" ice.

Another round of school closures has been announced, meaning some children are going without classes for the whole week.

Hundreds of schools in Salford, Northumberland, Gloucestershire and Lancashire are among those closed.

There has been growing anger from some parents about the closures.

There is also fear that the prolonged cold snap could mean chaos for next week's A-level and GCSE exams.

'Unprecedented demand'

Many councils have been running low on grit as ice continues to cause havoc on the roads.

Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales



Newcastle City Council has been mixing its grit with a "chippings substance" to make it go further.

Authorities are being forced to grit more thinly and to prioritise roads.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the authorities were doing all they could to distribute salt but added that Britain's only two suppliers were already operating at capacity.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said: "The salt suppliers - and there are two of them, Salt Union and Cleveland Potash - can't work any harder.

"They are on 24-hour shifts, they have lorries queuing up outside plants to take salt away as soon as it's got out.

"They are doing their best to meet the contracts that they have put in place with people, but it is a period of absolutely unprecedented demand."

About 5,000 homes across southern England were left without electricity because of trees falling on power lines and safety mechanisms being triggered by ice weighing down cables.

EDF Energy said only about 400 to 500 of those homes remained without power on Thursday night.

Southern Electric said fewer than 200 homes in Hampshire were affected by Friday.

A further 970 homes were without electricity in East Finchley, north London, after a fault with an underground cable at about 2200 GMT.

Up to 25,000 homes across the UK have been similarly affected since Wednesday.

FORECAST FROM BBC WEATHER

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UK forecast for 12/08/2022

Map Key

  • land colour Land
  • cloud colour Cloud
  • Lakes, Rivers & Sea colour Lakes, Rivers & Sea

Fog

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Frost

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Occluded Front Illustration
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Rain

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Snow

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Temperature tab only

Temperature (°C)

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