Three-inch blanket of snow heading our way today

A view over the frozen lake to Castle Howard Stately Home, in North Yorkshire
A view over the frozen lake to Castle Howard Stately Home, in North Yorkshire
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AREAS of Yorkshire could be blanketed by up to 3in (8cm) of snow today as the country continues to shiver in the Arctic freeze.

Treacherous conditions on the roads are also set to get worse with freezing rain battering some parts of Britain, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office has issued an “amber” warning instructing people the north of England to be prepared for widespread ice, while “yellow” warnings for snow and ice are in place in a number of English, Welsh and Scottish regions.

It comes after three people died in sub-zero, icy conditions in the north of England this week.

Nick Prebble, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “There will be a problem with freezing rain this morning which is going to start causing problems in southern Scotland and northern England.

“It will spread south east, and as it moves will turn into sleet and snow.”

The cold front will move to North Wales and Yorkshire, hitting the Midlands by the middle of this afternoon, he added.

Mr Prebble said: “From midday onwards, there will be snow falling, with between 4cm (1.6in) and 8cm (3in) possible.

“The areas worst affected are likely to be East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.

“There may well be snow flurries in London by the evening.

“It looks like it is going to settle in quite a wide area.”

Cumbria Police said freezing conditions were already plaguing the county’s roads this morning causing a lorry travelling along the eastbound carriageway of A66 in Stainmore to jacknife and block the road.

Today’s blast of snow is expected to last into tomorrow before clearing by the weekend leaving cloud and drizzle. The south east of England is expected to see some sunshine.

The sub-zero temperatures are set to improve slightly over the coming days, but the mercury will still struggling to get above 0C in many places overnight with a clear east/west divide.

The Midlands and south east of England will see readings of between freezing and 3C during today, while Wales and south west England could see temperatures of up to 7C. Scotland and Northern Ireland could reach a balmy 11C.

Mr Prebble added: “At the weekend and next week it won’t be as bitterly cold, but it is certainly still going to feel very chilly.”

The Met Office has issued a level-three severe cold weather alert lasting until Saturday and has warned of icy roads across much of the UK.

Drivers have been reminded that roads will still pose a risk even if the temperatures begin to warm.

The thick blanket of snow that fell over parts of the UK at the weekend caused major travel disruption with a spike in road crashes and breakdowns.

A handful of schools were also forced to close due to the adverse weather conditions, while Heathrow Airport axed half of all flights on Sunday night.

Award-winning cheese-maker Mandy Reed was found dead in a snowy garden near her home on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales in the early hours of Sunday morning. The 47-year-old’s death is being investigated by police.

In Hull, a man believed to be in his 50s was found dead in a park earlier this week. Police were called to an area near Woodland Road on Monday morning after the body was found by a dog walker.

He is thought to have frozen to death in temperatures which hit minus 7C (19.4F) in Hull on Sunday night.

In Castleford, West Yorkshire, a 10-year-old boy was found collapsed outside a friend’s house on Sunday after going out to play in the snow.

Joshua Houlgate, who is understood to have suffered from epilepsy when he was younger, was pronounced dead in hospital despite frantic efforts to save him at the scene.

More than 60 road accidents were reported this morning across Cumbria as police warned motorists to take care in hazardous conditions.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Constabulary said: “Rainfall overnight and into this morning has caused thick ice on the county’s roads.

“Police are urging drivers to slow down, drive with extreme care and, if possible, delay journeys.

“The A66 from Stainmore is closed due to the conditions and the M6 and A684 is currently extremely hazardous and only passable with extreme care.”

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “A ‘perfect storm’ of rain falling on freezing ground has caused extremely hazardous road conditions in Cumbria this morning.

“The council’s gritting crews have been operating at full capacity overnight and this morning treating priority one and two routes and, where possible, non-priority roads and footways.

“Although air temperatures have risen above freezing in many places, ground temperatures remain below zero, causing the rain to freeze on the ground and create patches of black ice.

“Conditions are expected to remain hazardous for at least the next 24 hours and drivers are being urged to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary.”

Gritting treatment was less effective in such conditions as the salt can be washed away before managing to clear the ice, the council added.

Its fleet of gritters was increasing the “spread rate” of rock salt and putting the maximum amount on to the roads.

Six vehicles collided in freezing conditions on the Felling bypass in Gateshead, Tyneside, at around 8.20am.

It happened on the westbound carriageway, near the Heworth roundabout, and involved five cars and a double-decker bus, police said.

Several drivers received minor injuries and were suffering from shock.

Northumbria Police warned drivers across the North East that rain had fallen on freezing roads, making black ice.

Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police’s operations command, said: “Rain is falling but freezing as soon as it hits the road surface.

“This is leading to very icy conditions and we would advise motorists to drive slowly and be mindful of this, even on roads that have been gritted.”