Weather forecast: Travel chaos as -15C Arctic freeze grinds UK to a halt

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Hundreds of drivers spent several hours stuck on the M25 in Hertfordshire overnight as snow and ice caused havoc on the roads.

Traffic ground to a standstill with motorists moving several hundred yards in hours as cars skidded and struggled in the heavy snow, while stranded passengers slept on airport floors as they waited for the Arctic blast to pass.

More travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports, as well as school closures, after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with up to 10cm more forecast today.

Snow and ice weather warnings are in force from the Met Office across northern Scotland, southeast and eastern England.

Weather forecast: Travel chaos as -15C Arctic freeze grinds UK to a halt

Hundreds of drivers spent several hours stuck on the M25 in Hertfordshire overnight as snow and ice caused havoc on the roads

More travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with up to 10cm more forecast today

More travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with up to 10cm more forecast today

Hundreds of drivers spent hours stuck on the M25 in Hertfordshire overnight as snow and ice weather caused havoc on the roads

Hundreds of drivers spent hours stuck on the M25 in Hertfordshire overnight as snow and ice weather caused havoc on the roads

Fog and ice warnings are in place for Northern Ireland, for much of England and parts of Wales, as much of the UK will struggle to get above freezing on Monday

Fog and ice warnings are in place for Northern Ireland, for much of England and parts of Wales, as much of the UK will struggle to get above freezing on Monday

Classrooms shut amid plunging temperatures: A full list of the counties experiencing school closures

Schools up and down the country have closed today as Britain was hit by heavy snowfall overnight and up to 10cm more is forecast today.

Is your child’s school affected? See the full list of the counties affected by classroom closures today:

East Sussex, Essex, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Wiltshire

Is your school closed today? Please get in touch eleanor.blake@mailonline.co.uk 

Fog and ice warnings are in place for Northern Ireland, for much of England and parts of Wales, as much of the UK will struggle to get above freezing on Monday.

In parts of the southeast of England there was significant snowfall overnight, with wintry showers combining with the freezing temperatures causing icy conditions.

significant snowfall overnight, with wintry showers combining with the freezing temperatures causing icy conditions.

The warnings come as four children remain in a critical condition in hospital after falling through ice on a frozen lake in Solihull, West Midlands, on Sunday.

This morning, Richard Stanton, area commander for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, said a search operation was continuing today after initial reports and video on social media suggested ‘up to six’ children had gone into the water at Babbs Mill Park.

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He told BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: ‘Initial reports stated that there were up to six people that had gone into the water and so search operations have continued throughout yesterday and will continue today to search the entirety of the lake.’ 

Mr Stanton urged people to take care near lakes amid the freezing temperatures that have swept across the UK today, saying it was ‘really important’ people contacted emergency services as quickly as possible.

Kingshurst Primary School announced it was shut for the day following the incident.  

Significant travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports today after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with 10cm more expected

Significant travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports today after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with 10cm more expected

Snow covering the railway tracks in Willesden Green, north-west London, causing disruption for TfL services

Snow covering the railway tracks in Willesden Green, north-west London, causing disruption for TfL services

Snow captured in Rotherhithe, south-east London on Monday morning

Snow captured in Rotherhithe, south-east London on Monday morning

A street in Cirencester, the Cotswolds, after significant snowfall last night

A street in Cirencester, the Cotswolds, after significant snowfall last night

Travel disruption is expected on motorways after there were several accidents, with drivers being urged to take care on major roads.

Road users in the southeast of England were being asked by National Highways not to travel unless it was essential due to heavy snow already with more forecast for later.

Kent was being particularly hard hit, with snow severely impacting the M2, the M20 around junctions 8 and 9, the A21 and the A249, with drivers struggling to get through, the organisation said.

National Highways duty operations manager for the region Gina Oxley said: ‘We have been out gritting throughout the afternoon and we’re continuing to treat routes so we can reach the worst-affected areas and support our customers with their journeys.

‘For anyone thinking of travelling (on Sunday night), our advice would be not to unless absolutely essential as heavy snow is expected to continue until 9am (Monday).’

Heathrow Airport said it was restricting the number of takeoffs and landings today, while Gatwick urged passengers to check before setting off.

Passengers lay on the floor at Gatwick Airport after becoming stranded due to delays caused by heavy snowfall

Passengers lay on the floor at Gatwick Airport after becoming stranded due to delays caused by heavy snowfall

Passengers were stranded at Gatwick Airport due to delays caused by the heavy snowfall

Passengers were stranded at Gatwick Airport due to delays caused by the heavy snowfall

Wednesday: A yellow snow and ice warning is in place for parts of northern and eastern Scotland (The Met Office)

Thursday: A yellow snow and ice warning is in place for parts of northern and eastern Scotland (The Met Office)

Met Office wWeather forecast shows there are yellow snow and ice warnings in place for parts of the UK

All flights have been suspended at Stansted Airport last night after it was forced to close its runway due to bad weather.

The Essex airport said in a statement: ‘London Stansted Airport’s runway is currently closed to allow for snow clearance due to weather conditions and all flights are currently suspended.

‘Delays to flights were experienced earlier due to de-icing of aircraft which is a ground handler’s responsibility and safety of aircraft and passengers is paramount.

‘Passengers are advised to check with their airline for current status of their flights.’

Schools across the UK closed today as people were warned not to to travel unless absolutely essential. 

Motorists braved snowfall on the A12 in Hackney, east London, on Monday morning

Motorists braved snowfall on the A12 in Hackney, east London, on Monday morning

A woman takes a walk in the snow in Rotherhithe, south-east London, on Monday morning

A woman takes a walk in the snow in Rotherhithe, south-east London, on Monday morning

A dog walker is seen trudging through the snow in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on Monday

A dog walker is seen trudging through the snow in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, on Monday

As of 7.30am on Monday morning, disruption affected the majority of the entire Tube network with many lines part suspended or experiencing severe or minor delays

As of 7.30am on Monday morning, disruption affected the majority of the entire Tube network with many lines part suspended or experiencing severe or minor delays

Meanwhile, thousands of commuters opted to stay at home to avoid treacherous journeys amid the rail strikes.

Today, an emergency Cobra meeting will discuss contingency plans for strikes this month, including the possibility of military personnel and civil servants getting involved in a bid to limit disruption.

National Rail said snow and ice had caused severe disruption across the whole of its south eastern network on Sunday night and delays would continue into Monday, ‘particularly in the morning’.

‘To allow Network Rail to check that the rails are clear of snow and ice, which can prevent trains from drawing power from the electric rail, the first trains in each direction on all routes will be cancelled,’ it said.

‘We also have many trains in the wrong location after last night’s disruption, which will cause further cancellations to services across the network.’

Southeastern railway running out of London Waterloo warned commuters that delays caused by snow and ice will carry on into the morning. 

There was also significant disruption across the entire Tube network with many lines part suspended or experiencing severe or minor delays. 

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People were advised to check their journeys before travelling. 

The mercury has hit -15C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, marking the lowest temperature the UK has seen since February last year.

The yellow warnings are in place from Sunday until Monday morning for northern and south-western Scotland, Northern Ireland, north-eastern England, the Midlands and South West as well as London and the South East.

Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said: ‘It will continue to be a very cold day, with maximum temperatures of 1C to 4C on Sunday, and, as we head into the evening, we see persistent rain, sleet or snow in the far South East of England, which is what we have a yellow warning out for from 6pm on Sunday.

‘We could see 2cm to 5cm (of snow), perhaps up to 10cm in some places, with Kent and Sussex most affected, with areas most exposed such as North and South Downs and higher ground going to see the more significant accumulations.

Commuters braved the freezing temperatures at London Bridge station on Monday

Commuters braved the freezing temperatures at London Bridge station on Monday

Significant travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports today after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with 10cm more expected

Significant travel disruption is expected on the roads, railways and at airports today after snow fell across parts of the UK last night, with 10cm more expected

National Rail said snow and ice had caused severe disruption across the whole of its south eastern network on Sunday night and delays would continue into Monday, 'particularly in the morning'

National Rail said snow and ice had caused severe disruption across the whole of its south eastern network on Sunday night and delays would continue into Monday, ‘particularly in the morning’

A car drives slowly along a snow-covered road on Monday morning in Willesden Green, northwest London

A car drives slowly along a snow-covered road on Monday morning in Willesden Green, northwest London 

A runner braves the cold near Tower Bridge, central London, on Monday morning

A runner braves the cold near Tower Bridge, central London, on Monday morning

A woman sledges following heavy snowfall in Greenwich Park, southeast London

A woman sledges following heavy snowfall in Greenwich Park, southeast London

A man takes an early morning run through the snow in Richmond Park in southwest London on Monday morning

A man takes an early morning run through the snow in Richmond Park in southwest London on Monday morning

‘There will be ice forming, particularly near to the coast where there is rain and sleet, and freezing temperatures which could cause some travel disruption to start Monday with that valid until 9am.’

Ms Ayers said that although cold temperatures, freezing fog and wintry showers are expected through the week, cloud cover could prevent some of the more extreme temperatures experienced in recent days.

She added that there is a possibility of slightly milder conditions arriving next weekend but it is too early to be certain.

The AA has advised motorists to adjust their driving to the freezing conditions on Monday morning.

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