Big freeze keeps icy grip on UK

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Children enjoy the snow in Whitley Bay in North Tyneside

There will be no let up in the big freeze yet as forecasters warned the conditions could last well into next week.

Parts of the country have seen well over a foot of snow, with bitter winds and temperatures dipping below minus 10C.

Eastern parts will bear the brunt of more wintry weather and there is an added risk of drifting snow, thanks to the biting easterly winds. Temperatures will also struggle to get above freezing, even in the big cities.

Latest weather reports have shown that up to 4ins (10cm) of snow has fallen in parts of central England and Norfolk. But there is up to 16ins (40cm) in parts of Northumberland, and even more in northern and eastern Scotland.

Tom Tobler of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “The cold weather will stay during the week with a brisk easterly wind developing which will make it feel even colder and which might bring more snow showers.”

He said there could be a mix of rain, sleet and snow later in the week, adding: “People should be bracing themselves for more cold weather for the working week and beyond.”

Motoring rescue service the AA said it dealt with around 15,000 breakdowns by the end of Saturday – up 80% on a normal November Saturday. Two people were injured in a four-vehicle pile-up on the M1 near Sheffield, where an inch of snow was lying on minor roads. The East of England Ambulance Service also recorded a spate of traffic collisions, with cars skidding into ditches, lampposts, fences and fields.

Flights at some airports were delayed and there were also runway closures at airports including Luton, Newcastle and Inverness. A number of sporting events were cancelled, including race meetings and FA Cup fixtures Hartlepool United vs Yeovil Town and Notts County vs Bournemouth.

But in Allenheads, Northumberland, skiers were praying for more snow on the village’s 100m ski slope. However, an Allenheads ski spokesman said: “There is insufficient snow in Allenheads for skiing and the road conditions are bad so we are discouraging people from trying to get up to the slope.”

In Scotland, skiers were also able to enjoy a day on the slopes on Saturday. The unusual weather has been caused by high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltic, forcing cold winds from the north east across Europe.

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