Flights cancelled ahead of snowy conditions

Snow in Ballymena, Co AntrimImage copyright
PA

Flights have been cancelled amid warnings of blizzard conditions set to sweep across the UK on Thursday.

London’s Heathrow Airport said airlines had pre-emptively cancelled 80 out of 1,350 flights, with disruption expected from 15:00 GMT. Four flights at Gatwick Airport have also been cancelled.

Heathrow Airport said without the cancellations it could not reschedule any flights delayed by the weather.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for snow for much of the UK.

The “be aware” warnings are in place for many areas of the country until Saturday.

At Heathrow Airport, 6% of the usual daily flights are cancelled.

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Gatwick Airport said route restrictions had been put in place by air traffic control which might cause some delays and cancellations to flights. It advised passengers to check before travelling.

Airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast International and Belfast City airports are operating as normal with no reported weather-related disruption.

Frequent snow showers and strong winds are expected widely across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the north of England on Thursday and in the south, rain is forecast to turn to snow.


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Heavy snow has already hit parts of Northern Ireland with Coleraine and Ballymena among the towns worst affected.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind and snow across Scotland, with gusts of up to 60mph in places as well as 10cm (4in) to 20cm (8in) of snow on higher ground.

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      People living in southern England and Wales can expect a cold and wet day with some heavy rain on Thursday, which is forecast to turn into snow later.

      A combination of high tides and strong winds are expected to result in a large tidal surge down the east coast of England, which the Environment Agency is monitoring.

      It is thought waves could overtop the flood defences and combine with wind-blown spray to cause localised flooding.

      The Environment Agency has issued more than 20 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, along the east coast of England, and more than 40 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible.

      In Lincolnshire, about 100 soldiers are helping to prepare for a predicted storm surge and the county’s Chief Constable, Neil Rhodes, said evacuation plans had been drawn up.

      Essex County Council said residents in flood-risk areas including the Tendring area of Jaywick, Mistley and Manningtree, Colchester, and Mersea would be evacuated.

      It said its “main concern” was the tide at 13:00 on Friday.

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      PA

      Image caption

      A man battles to clear snow after heavy showers in central Scotland

      BBC Weather’s Thomasz Schafernaker said the snow had so far mainly hit more northern areas of the UK – with snow showers there set to continue.

      But he said rain would eventually start to turn to snow further south, particularly across the Midlands, parts of East Anglia and the South East.

      “Then we are going to seeing clearing skies through this evening so some of the slushy weather we will get will start to freeze – so really nasty conditions on the way.”

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      PA

      Image caption

      Highland cattle in the snow near Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire

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      PA

      Image caption

      A postman struggles through the blizzard to complete his job in Braco near Stirling

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      Getty Images

      Image caption

      The snow left behind this picturesque scene at Carrbridge, in the Highlands

      The Local Government Association said councils in England and Wales were well-prepared for the low temperatures and snow.

      It said about half of local authorities had full stocks of grit, having stored up 1.2 million tonnes of salt to prepare for winter.

      Scotland has been hit by heavy snow showers which have already caused travel disruption.

      Police said there had been some minor road accidents in the Highlands, while the M74 was closed for a time at junction eight due to ice.

      Ferry services have been affected, with Caledonian MacBrayne expecting “heavy disruption” and problems also likely on Northlink and Orkney Ferries.

      The Forth Road Bridge, linking Edinburgh and Fife, has reopened after a lorry was blown over and damaged the central reservation on Wednesday.

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      PA

      Image caption

      A cyclist pedals through the snow in the Peak District

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      PA

      Image caption

      Snow fell over the Dark Hedges in County Antrim, a tunnel of trees made famous by TV show Game of Thrones

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      PA

      Image caption

      There was enough snow in Stirling to build a snowman


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