Britain still gripped by freezing weather - but end is in sight


Icy roads and further snow will continue to blight parts of the UK on Sunday - but for many an end to the widespread freezing conditions is in sight.

A yellow weather warning for snow is in place for much of the day across parts of Scotland, while an ice warning covers all of England and Northern Ireland until 11am.

Forecasters say temperatures could plummet to lows of minus 4C in rural areas overnight.

However, a gradual thaw will continue to take hold for many places on Sunday, especially in southern England where the mercury could reach as high as 9C.

Met Office forecaster Becky Mitchell said: "Through the rest of the afternoon we've got spells of rain across the south, perhaps turning to sleet at times, but we really are losing that risk of snow across much of southern England and Wales through Sunday as temperatures return towards normal for a lot of places.

"There is quite a lot of snow in some places across the south... so it's going to be some time before all that snow melts away but temperature-wise over the next few days it's definitely going to help things.

"The main point is it's gradually turning milder so we are seeing an end to widespread cold conditions from this weekend onwards."

The milder weather spells the end of frozen rain - the rare weather phenomenon seen recently which occurs when snow, ice, sleet or hail passes through warm air before cooling closer to the ground and freezing on impact.

But there are still hazards even as the forecast improves.

A total of 16 flood warnings and 34 flood alerts remain in force across England, as the Environment Agency warned of a potential surge in water levels.

In Ireland, where orange and yellow alerts for snow and ice are still in place, the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI issued a joint call for people to exercise caution in coastal areas.

High tides and easterly winds may result in flooding and "extreme danger" on exposed piers and coastlines.

Weather warnings for snow and ice on Sunday March 4 (PA Graphics)

On Saturday, freezing rain and high winds left hundreds of homes without power, while the thawing conditions caused a number of pipes to burst on the Isle of Wight, Southern Water said.

A spokesman for the water company said: "Although we are doing as much as we can, it's still possible that customers around the Newport area may experience either a loss of supply or low pressure in the early hours of Sunday morning."

Icicles caused damage to overhead cables in Bishopton tunnel in Scotland, while North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue knocked down dangerous shards of ice overhanging a footpath.

Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel as the cold weather continues around the country (ScotRail Alliance/PA)
Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel as the cold weather continues around the country (ScotRail Alliance/PA)

A plan is being put together for a clean-up operation after Holyhead Marina, in Angelesy, North Wales, was battered by Storm Emma.

The weather conditions over the past few days damaged a large number of vessels berthed in the marina, and there was a low risk of pollution.

Holyhead Harbour Authority, @MCA_media emergency response organisations, the local authority and @NatResWales are putting together an action plan for the clean-up operation at #HolyheadMarina. Public are being advised to leave clean-up to the experts

-- Maritime&Coastguard (@MCA_media) March 3, 2018

Some roads, such as the A66 in Cumbria and County Durham, remain closed as authorities work to clear snow, but other transport services are starting to get back to normal.

Airports are beginning reopen and train routes resume, but some operators have warned of reduced or altered timetables.