Travellers Braced For Disruption As Snow And Heavy Rain Expected

23 November 2017, 06:20

snow 23rd nov 2017

Large parts of Scotland are braced for snow while heavy rain and strong winds lash much of the rest of the UK.

Heavy and persistent snow is forecast north of the border on Thursday morning, with 2cm to 5cm likely for many parts and up to 20cm on the highest ground, the Met Office said.

A yellow "be aware" weather warning for snow kicked in just after midnight for the Scottish Highlands, Western Isles, Grampian, Strathclyde and Central, Tayside and Fife regions.

The warning, which covers the morning rush hour and is valid until 1pm on Thursday, warns that some roads and railways are likely to be affected, with possible longer journey times for road, bus and train services.

Meanwhile a yellow weather warning of heavy rain was in force for southern Scotland, northern England and Wales until 9am on Thursday.

Forecasters warn that spray and flooding on roads will make journey times longer while bus and train services are also likely to be affected.

Strong winds were also forecast south of the border for the early hours of Thursday.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said: "Snow is forecast for northern Scotland and this could potentially affect travel in the area.

"Outside that area snow is not going to be an issue, it's more likely to be heavy rain."

In the Highlands rail passengers faced disruption after three landslips following heavy rain forced the cancellation of some services.

Train services from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and Wick were affected, with the line blocked between the Highland capital and Beauly.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued flood alerts for Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

South of the border there are a number of flood warnings in force, mostly in north west England, and dozens more flood alerts.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: "We are warning drivers across the UK that high winds will make conditions challenging.

"The advice is for drivers to slow down and ensure they double the normal recommended two-second distance between their car and the vehicle in front.

"Hold the steering wheel firmly and be prepared to be buffeted by gusts of wind.

"Drivers in Scotland who travel on roads on high ground and mountain passes should be prepared for snowy conditions.

"It's wise to pack a 'winter survival kit' including a shovel, blanket, additional warm clothing, a torch, a flask with a warm drink and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and consider letting your friends, family or colleagues know when you expect to arrive.

"It may be worth delaying your journey or taking an alternative route until conditions improve and the snow ploughs have made roads fully passable. Keep tuned to the weather and travel forecasts on local radio."

In north Wales, the police and fire service appealed to the public to only dial 999 during flooding if there was a risk to life.

The Isle of Anglesey County Council said "major flooding" had hit Llangefni, where images showed water rushing down Church Street in the town's centre.

Meanwhile in Beaumaris rainwater caused the castle's moat to burst, flooding a street in the town centre.

The council said the majority of the island's major roads were flooded "at some point", including the A55 dual carriageway in both directions.

Travel to Holyhead Port was "severely disrupted", a "major landslide" completely closed a section of the A545 coastal road and a lorry crash closed the A5 on the island.

North Yorkshire Police said "a number of vehicles" had been recovered from floodwaters and a stretch of the A65 south of Ingleton was closed, with considerable disruption expected in the area.

Two lanes of the southbound carriageway on the M6 were closed between junctions 35 and 36 in south Cumbria due to flooding and an overturned vehicle.

And rail operator Northern tweeted that flooding had stopped services between Lancaster and Morecambe, Carlisle, Oxenholme and Windermere.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said it had received more than 400 flooding-related calls and attended 109 flooding incidents, rescuing more than 70 people, along with more than 20 horses, a cat and a dog.

"The majority of these incidents have not involved a life risk but where there have been residents and animals at risk, our crews have attended and helped out," the service said.

"Some of the more serious incidents have included helping move vulnerable people out of their homes, moving animals that have been trapped and pumping water out of houses where the flood water was affecting the electricity."