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Last Updated: Friday February 06 2009 16:08 GMT

Snow stops school for a million

L:ocked gates at a school in Worcestershire

About a million children across the UK are having an early start to the weekend after fresh snow storms led to the closure of thousands of schools.

Up to 4,000 primaries and secondaries were shut on Friday, with most of the closures being centred across southern England and Wales.

Northern Ireland escaped the snow overnight, but it began falling heavily in some areas on Friday morning.

The snow has been causing even more problems on the roads and railways.

More than 200 people became stranded on Thursday night as blizzard conditions battered the West Country.

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Why is it snowing so much?

People became stuck in their cars and lorries when up to a foot of snow fell on hilly parts of Devon, near Exeter.

Some people walked to safety and were given hot drinks, while others were rescued by the emergency services.

Meanwhile, people are still being warned not to travel in many areas across south western England, and some major roads have been closed.

Travel chaos

Two huge motorway bridges over the River Severn estuary between England and Wales were shut after five vehicles' windscreens were smashed by falling ice.

Some councils in England say they are running out of road salt and grit to put on the roads to stop them getting slippery.

There is also more trouble on the railways, and disruptions to flights at Bristol and Luton airports.