Major travel disruption as heavy snow hits England and Wales

PA

Heavy snowfall has hit much of southern England and Wales, leaving hundreds of people trapped in cars as temperatures plummeted.

Snow is lying at least 12cm deep on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, and 5cm has been recorded in Sennybridge, Powys, according to the Met Office.

This already exceeds the maximum 10cm of snowfall that was predicted when the forecaster issued a severe weather warning for Thursday.

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The snow, which has been travelling eastwards, has reached as far as Wiltshire, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.

Cornwall Airport, which is near Newquay, was forced to temporarily close on Thursday due to the adverse weather conditions, and around 100 cars got stuck on a nearby stretch of the A30 by Temple.

An "intensive effort" is under way to help the motorists, according to Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, head of roads policing across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

Winter weather Jan 31st 2019
Winter weather Jan 31st 2019

Matt Argyle, 46, who got stuck on the A30 travelling eastbound near Temple, said he had been sat in the same spot for five hours.

He told the Press Association: "A police search and rescue vehicle has just driven past, but that's the first service vehicle I've seen.

"There's no cars on the other side of the road so it must be completely blocked somewhere."

The IT specialist has managed to stay warm using a sleeping bag and extra clothes he had packed in his car.

A plough and a gritter have been sent to help the drivers who are backed up along the snow-coated carriageway, according to images on social media.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said that motorists are also stuck on the A38 near Haldon Hill and the A380 near Ideford Dip.

Emergency services have warned drivers to stay in their cars and keep warm.

The Met Office tweeted: "Snow, initially moving north and east across parts of southern and southwestern England, the Midlands and Wales, will stall and tend to fragment.

"Wintry showers will continue in northern and eastern areas. Ice is likely in many parts overnight."

There are "treacherous driving conditions in places", the forecaster added.

WEATHER Snow
WEATHER Snow

Temperatures are below freezing for many across the country and plummeted as low as minus 12.9C (8.8F) in Braemar, Aberdeenshire on Thursday evening.

Snow depths of 8cm in Cumbria and 7cm in Inverness-shire were also recorded by the Met Office on Thursday evening, although this is believed to be mostly leftover from Wednesday.

Commuters in many parts of the country were warned to leave work early on Thursday to ensure they got home.

South Western Railway has already warned passengers that trains may be cancelled on Friday morning while work is done to check and clear the tracks.