UK weather Black Ice Monday travel disruption as thousands stranded at airports

first_imgThe RAC said journeys by road would take up to three times longer than usual, as it warned of “treacherous” driving conditions.Western Power Distribution said engineers worked through the night as they aimed to restore power to 10,000 home in the Midlands, South Wales and South West. SSE said they restored power to 48,000 customers on Sunday and that 2,900 remained without power on Sunday night. People wait at Heathrow Airport after flight cancellations due to weather At the west London airport, passengers complained of being trapped on a British Airways plane on the ground for more than four hours with no information from the airline on Sunday.Four British Airways flights headed for Heathrow had to be diverted to Newcastle, 300 miles away.  State of @HeathrowAirport T5 thanks to all flights being cancelled by @British_Airways #weatheraware #baggage #TravelChaos pic.twitter.com/Md8sr49AVz— Rohan Mathur (@mathur02) December 10, 2017 However, Highways England claimed it had eight gritters patrolling the road continually but said there had not been enough cars in the morning to adequately spread rock salt across the road.“There was a lot of snow, and the action of the salt relies on traffic, and it was a Sunday and the emergency services were telling people not drive, so there were not enough cars for it to be effective,” said a spokesman. “We understand how frustrating this experience is for customers and we are offering refunds for those who no longer wish to travel from Heathrow today or tomorrow regardless of whether their flight is cancelled or not.”The airline also extended the offer to rebook until December 18 and added they had additional staff at call centres.TrainsNational Rail said poor weather conditions were affecting travel across England and Wales.Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western, and Virgin Trains will all be affected, while East Midlands Trains customers are being advised to check their trains are running before setting off. Passengers endured long waits at Heathrow Airport after flight cancellations due to poor weather conditionsCredit:Laura Bryce/Twitter Snow brought traffic chaos to Britain  Settled snow has turned to treacherous ice and caused disruption on roads and railways across the country on what has been dubbed Black Ice Monday following a wintry blast that left thousands of people stranded at airports.The deep freeze has also seen hundreds of schools close, thousands left without power and flights delayed on Monday – including at Heathrow where passengers have complained of waiting hours for travel to be rescheduled.The Met Office has extended its yellow weather warnings for snow and ice to cover vast swathes of the country, including London and the South East, much of the Midlands, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the eastern coast of England and northern and western Scotland.Forecasters warned that clear skies on Monday night could see temperatures drop as low as minus 15C (5F), potentially beating Sunday night’s low of minus 11.6C (11F) in Chillingham Barns, Northumberland.Heavy snow still lying on the ground, particularly around the Hereford area, has disrupted services on West Midlands Railway and Great Western Railway, while London Northwestern Railway trains to Milton Keynes from London have been delayed or cancelled. Heathrow said it was operating three-quarters of its full schedule as airlines dealt with the knock-on effects of Sunday’s heavy snowfall, which turned to ice overnight as temperatures plummeted.Passengers shared images on Twitter of long queues and scores of suitcases lined up on Sunday evening, while others complained of a lack of information from the airport and airlines. Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “It was chilly in Chillingham Barnes, but it wasn’t the coldest night of 2017 – that was Saturday night when temperatures went down to -12.4C.”We could well beat that tonight and could go as low as -12C and even -15C.”Road, trains and flights affectedDisruption from the wintry weather continued on Monday after difficult conditions on Sunday, with roads, trains and planes all affected.AirportsDozens of flights were cancelled at the UK’s busiest airport as the fallout from the weekend’s heavy snow continued to cause disruption for passengers. In Wales, 71 schools are closed in Flintshire, 11 in Wrexham and 49 in Denbighshire. An abandoned car on the roadside in the Peak District after heavy snowfallCredit:Danny Lawson /PA BA passengers trapped on plane for four hoursFlights were diverted, delayed and cancelled at Heathrow, where disruption was blamed on planes having to be de-iced before take-off, resulting in a lack of “parking space” for incoming flights. ‘Thought I was clever’: Michael Owen’s idea to park Bentley under tree to shelter from snow backfiresFormer footballer Michael Owen thought he was being clever when he parked his car under a tree in order to shelter it from snow, reports Helena Horton. A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “Some flights at Heathrow are disrupted today.”However, the airport remains open and is operating three-quarters of scheduled flights. Before coming to the airport, passengers must check their flight status with their airline. If the status of your flight is cancelled, please do not travel to the airport, keep updated via the airline’s website.”The safety and comfort of our passengers is always our first priority and we are working closely with our airlines to ensure affected passengers are looked after. We apologise to those whose travel has been impacted and regret the inconveniences that have been caused.”A British Airways statement said: “We are very sorry that customers continue to suffer from the disruption to flights at Heathrow caused by the severe weather conditions that have affected airports across northern Europe.”Time spent on de-icing aircraft to ensure safe operation plus air traffic control restrictions and the re-positioning of aircraft and crews from yesterday have led to further cancellations and delays today. Passengers wait for their delayed flights at Heathrow on Sunday afternoonCredit:Tolga Akmen /LNP A Tube train in snowy conditions early on Monday  What have your travel experiences been during the snow? Join the debate by leaving a comment below. However, gravity was not his friend when the snow-laden branches collapsed under the weight, causing the tree to lean over onto his car. Many of Mr Owen’s Twitter followers were sympathetic, with one writing: “Poor Michael Owen, even his car is injured.” Others offered tips, with one tweeting: “Catch the bus Michael.”Some advised he invest in a garage – while others said it was “festive” to find a car under a tree.Highway officials blame ‘lack of cars’ for chaosTraffic was brought to a standstill on the M40 in Warwickshire, with motorists complaining that they had not seen any gritters, and that the road had been left covered in dangerous ice and slush.Driver Carl Palmer said the motorway looked “like a war-zone, with crashed cars everywhere, others spinning around”, while motorist Rebecca Matthews said the situation was “shambolic” with people forced to get out and push their cars up slip-roads.center_img A car that had spun out of control in Buckinghamshire on Sunday amid road chaosCredit:Ben Cawthra/LNP Lorries and cars queue as motorists begin to get stuck in the snow on the A417 outside Cirencester, GloucestershireCredit:Stephen Shepherd/LNP  RoadsPolice said lane three on the M42 in the West Midlands, between junctions 1 and 3, and lane three on the M5 between junction 4a and junction 3, were impassable on Monday morning, with only lanes one and two running on both motorways.The slip road to Stansted airport on the M11 eastbound was closed overnight for carriageway treatment due to freezing temperatures, according to Highways England. Thousands of air passengers had spent the night at Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham and Luton airports after dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed.On Monday morning, an estimated 50,000 British Airways passengers were said to have been affected by cancelled or delayed flights – 30,000 in Britain and 20,000 others in Europe. Not ideal at 5:30am when you’ve got a train to catch! Thought I was clever sheltering my car from the snow! 😂🙈 pic.twitter.com/9Oqz8UxiPR— michael owen (@themichaelowen) December 11, 2017 An abandoned car on the roadside in the Peak District after heavy snowfall Should we expect more snow?Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “We are not expecting too much more in terms of fresh snowfall and the risk now transfers to ice.”We have got fairly widespread clear skies, which will bring temperatures down and where there is lying snow, that creates an ice risk.”He said a weather front coming in from France would affect the east coast and South East, bringing with it wintry showers, and possibly snow, but he added it would be “nothing like what we’ve seen already”.RAC expecting 11,000 breakdownsPete Williams, the RAC’s road safety spokesman, said they are expecting 11,000 breakdowns on what has been dubbed Black Ice Monday, a figure which is 20 per cent above the seasonal norm.”I think the big thing is people are not going to leave enough time,” he said.”Journeys will take two to three times longer. It’s going to be treacherous driving conditions.”Mr Williams said low overnight temperatures could cause black ice and urged people to drive slowly, leaving plenty of space between them and the car in front. A sign warns of an icy road as a driver navigates their snow covered car down a road in Hockley, BirminghamCredit:Michael Scott/Caters Heathrow in chaos with flight cancellations, over 27, 000 people stranded. pic.twitter.com/8vS2OMjMmu— Robert Glover (@robnchina) December 11, 2017 Weather forecast for today – and the week ahead A Heathrow spokesman said: “Heathrow airport remains open however we regret that weather across the UK is resulting in some passengers experiencing disruption to their travel arrangements.  “Airlines are responsible for ensuring their flights are fully de-iced before they are operated and this is resulting in some delays and cancellations.”Hundreds of schools closed in freezing conditionsAs a result of the snow and freezing conditions, Birmingham City Council has been forced to cancel all council-run school and related transport services on Monday, the authority said.More than 200 schools will be closed in Gloucestershire, and more than 100 in Shropshire. Towards the southeast there’ll be a mix of rain and sleet, with some snow over higher ground for the morning rush hour. Elsewhere it’s looking drier but cold with some showers and the risk of ice #weatheraware pic.twitter.com/vF6xZVcu6c— Met Office (@metoffice) December 10, 2017 Passengers wait for their delayed and cancelled flights at Heathrow   A sign warns of an icy road as a driver navigates his snow covered car down a road in Hockley, Birmingham The deicing process is believed to have affected both outgoing and incoming flights, with planes not able to land because other aircraft were still in the stands. British Airways was inundated with messages from unhappy customers on social media, who complained of long waits and no response on their customer service phone line. The airline apologised on Twitter for the “problems and inconvenience”. Emergency services warned motorists to drive with caution, even on motorways, with icy slush on the M40 between junctions two and three causing a van to flip over following a collision with two other cars. . Lorries and cars queue and ssome tart to get stuck in the snow on the A417 outside Cirencester, Gloucestershire A Tube train in snowy conditions early on MondayCredit:JEREMY SELWYN /eyevine Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more