Manchester and Liverpool airports were forced to close their runways on Wednesday morning due to snow as the wintry weather caused disruption across the country.
Britain faces “very significant snowfall” this week, with temperatures expected to plunge to at least minus 10 degrees Celsius in parts of the country, the Met Office has warned.
Flights were grounded at Manchester Airport and Liverpool Airport as staff attempted to clear snow from the Tarmac.
After more than three hours, both runways were eventually re-opened. Dozens of schools across the country have also closed due to the snow and ice.
A weather system forecast on Thursday could break this winter’s current record low of minus 10.8 degrees and bring up to 10cm of snow to parts of southern England.
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice cover the majority of the UK on Wednesday – with only a narrow sliver of the country north-east of Carlisle not affected.
Journeys on the roads could take “a lot” longer and should ideally be avoided if possible, said Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill.
The warning in Scotland, Northern Ireland and most of the UK runs until 11am on Wednesday, while the South East, London and East Anglia are covered until 12pm.
Further warnings have been issued for Thursday when a new weather front comes in which could bring in more wintry weather.
Mr Burkill said: “Looking further ahead, it’s what happens on Thursday that has the potential to be more disruptive.
“It does have the potential to bring some very significant snow. We have already got a warning out in force for it.
“It’s currently just a yellow warning, but it’s not out of the question that will be ramped up nearer the time.
“It’s looking like it will be a spell of persistent snow.”
The year’s record low, recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on January 18 is also likely to be beaten.
Benton, in Oxfordshire, and Santon Downham, Suffolk, are among parts of England which could be coldest.
“I think Scotland will probably be the coldest place but it’s not out of the question we got into negative double figures in parts of England,” Mr Burkill said.
Thursday will start off “very cold” as the weather system pushes eastwards from the south west.
Areas of higher ground could get up to 10cm of snow.
“It’s worth bearing in mind there will be some disruption, particularly to travel. If you’re heading out on the roads, be aware you’re journey will take a lot longer than normal,” Mr Burkill added.
“There’s an ice risk which is going to cause some problems so even if there is not snow it could be icy on the roads and pavement which people need to be aware of.”
Official Met Office figures for snowfall on Tuesday showed the worst-hit areas were Tulloch Bridge, Inverness-shire, with 11cm, and Spadeadam, Cumbria, with 10cm.
Councils have prepared for heavy snowfall, with more than 1.4 million tonnes of salt stockpiled, the Local Government Association said.
Public Health England has also warned at-risk people, including the elderly, to take precautions.
Dr Emer O’Connell, a public health consultant, said: “If you can, check on family, friends and neighbours who are older, have heart and lung conditions or young children as all these groups are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold.”
Manchester commuters ski work
With snow falling across the UK, at least two people from Manchester took the weather warnings as seriously as possible, setting out on skis for their morning travel.
Footage of a man making his way down a road in Didsbury by ski was shared widely on social media.
University of Manchester student Gabrielle Sanderson, 20, filmed the skier and said: “There were quite a few people stuck at the bus stop since the traffic was blocked up.
“He was getting further than the traffic so I’d say he was pretty successful.”View image on Twitter
Photos posted later appeared to show another skier, dressed in a bright orange jacket, joining the man.
The Met Office has warned Britain is bracing for the coldest night of the winter so far, with “significant snowfall” likely to cause further travel delays and school closures.
Temperatures of minus 10C (14F) are possible in parts of the country in the early hours of Thursday, with this winter’s record of minus 10.8C (12.6F) expected to be broken.
Manchester and Liverpool airports were at a standstill on Wednesday morning and several schools in the cities closed their doors due to the harsh conditions.
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