Forecasters warn no sign yet of winter releasing its icy grip

Snow is expected to blanket the UK for the next week, with no end of the big freeze in immediate sight, forecasters warned.

Last night a weather warning was issued for Yorkshire indicating a persistent band of snow 
was likely to bring heavy falls in some places overnight and 
motorists were urged to drive carefully in this morning’s rush hour.

Over the weekend some people made the most of the wintry conditions with children out sledging in Beeston, Leeds, and other parts of the county.

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But for others the wintry conditions brought travel misery with journeys severely disrupted.

Forecasters predicted large parts of the UK will experience further snowfall, with up to 10cm could fall in local areas, and 15cm on higher ground, weather experts said.

The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for ice for much of the country and advised people to take extra care as snow turns to ice in the sub-zero conditions.

Seven people were also taken to hospital after a double-deck bus was in collision with two cars and ploughed into a garden, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said.

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Lifeboat crews were called out to a historic pleasure cruiser which broke from its moorings during a snow storm.

RNLI crews in Bridlington helped secure the Yorkshire Belle which began drifting in the town’s harbour on Saturday night.

A spokesman for the 66-year-old cruiser said it was spotted breaking away from its moorings and the lifeboat was launched.

“It just caused cosmetic damage really but it did hit two other boats.”

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The Yorkshire Belle was launched to replace one of the same name, which was blown up by a mine during the Second World War, resulting in the loss of all crew.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at Heathrow airport for a second day yesterday as planes were again grounded. Travellers at regional airports including Leeds Bradford, Humberside 
and Newcastle have also been frustrated by delays and disruption caused by the wintry 

Heathrow defended itself after cancelling 260 flights – 20 per cent of its usual schedule.

The airport came under fire from angry passengers who camped out on its terminal floors for a second day yesterday, complaining not enough was done to share information and get traffic moving.

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It was far from the first time the airport had drawn criticism for grounding flights.

A spokeswoman for Heathrow said last night the airport was coping well after giving advance notice of cancellations.

The issue, she said, was reduced visibility which meant more 
distance was needed between flights. She said: “The runways are open and everything is fine at the moment because passengers have had more time to check flights with their airline.”

Billy Payne, a forecaster with Meteogroup, the Press Association’s weather arm, said: “Visibility is fairly low where the snow is falling, down to about 1.9 kilometres.

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“It is reduced visibility but it is not at fog levels although it may drop further if there are heavier bursts of snow.”

A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said 600 flights were scheduled this morning and none had been cancelled.

The airport has spent £8m on new snow equipment since the big freeze in 2010

Passengers were left fuming on Saturday, after flights were cancelled leaving them stuck for hours on planes or stranded at the airport. The road and rail networks are also braced for further bad weather.