Warnings of travel disruption after temperatures fall to -15C overnight

Snowfall and icy conditions are expected to cause widespread travel disruption on Friday morning after temperatures plummeted as low as minus 15.4C (4.3F) overnight.

A pivoting system of wintry weather means much of southern England and Wales will wake up to more of the white stuff after the coldest night in the UK since 2012.

An amber snow warning has been issued for an area west of London including parts of Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, with stranded vehicles and power cuts "likely", and a "good chance" some rural communities could be cut off.

The alert comes after as much as 14cm of snow wreaked havoc in the south-west on Thursday.

Efforts to rescue motorists stranded on snowbound roads in Devon and Cornwall continued through the night, while hundreds of people were forced to find shelter where they could.

Meanwhile, persistent snow began to spread across the south east late on Thursday and flurries were seen all the way into central London.

The Met Office has also has two yellow weather warnings of snow and ice in force until Friday afternoon covering southern England and Wales, as well as the eastern edge of the UK from Shetland to The Wash.

Police forces across the country are warning motorists to consider if their journeys are necessary before heading out on Friday and be "extremely careful" if have to travel by road.

On the rail network Southeastern and Transport for Wales have altered their services on Friday as a result of the adverse conditions.

The South Western Railway was planning to run a normal timetable, but warned some early services may need to be cancelled as routes are cleared.

Meanwhile Southern, Thameslink, Great Northern and Gatwick Express were expected to run normally, although all passengers were urged to check before they travel in case the conditions impact services.

Transport for London also advised passengers to check their service status before setting off.

Airports were also hit by the freezing weather, with Bristol Airport suspending flights until 8am while the runway was cleared.

Snow was also seen falling at Heathrow on Friday, where British Airways altered a number of short-haul flights on Thursday, and passengers using the hub were being told to stay in contact with their airlines before travelling.

Gatwick Airport also saw flurries, although the airport was advising passengers it was planning on operating as normal on Friday.

Met Office meteorologist Emma Smith said: "There is still sleet and snow across southern counties, the band is currently sitting across the south-west and Wales and across to East Anglia and London.

"It's kind of pivoting in place and it's not really moving very far. What will be happening to it is it will get patchier as it goes on, but it could cause some disruption to rush hour.

"Temperatures are widely below freezing so there's icy stretches so people will have to take care going into work."

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Snow covers Blencathra, in Lake District, Cumbria. Snowfalls on Friday and overnight are expected to bring widespread disruption. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
A car is driven along a snow covered road in the Blue Bell Hill area near Maidstone, Kent, after snowfall on Friday and overnight is expected to bring widespread disruption. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Cars stuck in traffic on Ringway West in Basingstoke due to snowfall in the area. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
A car is driven past a fallen tree brought down by the weight of snow, near Walderslade Woods in Walderslade, Kent, which is expected to be closed all weekend. Motorists were stranded for a second night as heavy snow blanketed roads and the wintry weather brought traffic to a standstill. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dog walkers pass a snowman at the Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Devizes, in Wiltshire, after continuing snowfalls brought widespread disruption. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A passenger train travels through Worting Junction in Basingstoke, Hampshire in snowy conditions. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
People watch from a footbridge as trees brought down by the weight of snow are cleared from Walderslade Woods Road, in Walderslade, Kent, which is expected to be closed all weekend. Motorists were stranded for a second night as heavy snow blanketed roads and the wintry weather brought traffic to a standstill. Sleet and snow continued across the early hours of Saturday morning impacting highways across Kent and Hampshire, and causing treacherous conditions. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
People head out to sledge in the Blue Bell Hill area near Maidstone, Kent, after snowfall on Friday and overnight is expected to bring widespread disruption. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
A woman pulls a sledge past frozen water in the pounds at the Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Devizes, in Wiltshire, after continuing snowfalls brought widespread disruption. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man runs along snow covered paths in the Blue Bell Hill area near Maidstone, Kent, after snowfall on Friday and overnight is expected to bring widespread disruption. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
A person snowboards in Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve on the Chilterns escarpment, in Oxfordshire. Snowfall and icy conditions are expected to cause widespread travel disruption after temperatures plummeted as low as minus 15.4C (4.3F) overnight. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Visitors enjoy the snow at the Cathedral on February 01, 2019 in Salisbury, United Kingdom. Heavy snow across the UK has seen two yellow warnings issued for snow and ice for large parts of the UK, causing travel disruption and the closure of hundreds of schools. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
A woman walks through snow covered trees in Buxton, Derbyshire, as Britain is bracing for the coldest night of the winter so far, with 'significant snowfall' likely to cause further travel delays and school closures. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
A van sits in deep snow on the A53 near Buxton, Derbyshire, as Britain is bracing for the coldest night of the winter so far, with 'significant snowfall' likely to cause further travel delays and school closures. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man shovels snow in Buxton, Derbyshire, as Britain is bracing for the coldest night of the winter so far, with 'significant snowfall' likely to cause further travel delays and school closures. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snowy conditions in Blaenau Ffestiniog in Wales, as up to 10cm of snow could fall on higher ground as temperatures drop across the UK this week.
A Virgin train heads through heavy snow to Orton, as up to 10cm of snow could fall on higher ground with temperatures dropping across large parts of the UK this week.
A snow covered car near Newby Head in North Yorkshire, as up to 10cm of snow could fall on higher ground as temperatures drop across the UK this week.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/01/22: A 'BRRREXIT' message is seen written on a car covered in snow, in north London. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A view of the landscape during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent, as the cold weather continues. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
The sun rises on an oast house during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent, as the cold weather continues. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
The sun rises on an oast house during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent, as the cold weather continues. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Sunrise near Hawkhurst in Kent, as the cold weather continues. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
A person stops to watch the sunrise during a frosty morning on Primrose Hill, London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Deer stand in frost-covered grass in Richmond Park, south west London, as the cold weather continues. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
A lone runner runs through a frost covered Primrose Hill in London during sunrise. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
A dog walker during sunrise on a frosty morning on Primrose Hill, London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
An early morning runner during a frosty sunrise in Primrose Hill, London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Frost covers Primrose Hill in London at sunrise. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/01/23: Rowing boats in Finsbury Park, north London are seen covered in snow. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A horse in a snowy field in the Divis Mountain area of Belfast, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A van in snowy conditions on Divis Mountain, north-west of Belfast in County Antrim, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A horse in a snowy field in the Divis Mountain area of Belfast, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snow covered houses in Colin Glen, west Belfast, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snow covered houses in west Belfast, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. (Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)
WHIPSNADE, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 23: A pair of Patagonian mara in the snow ZSL Whipsnade on January 23, 2019 in Whipsnade, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Tony Margiocchi / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The sun rises over a foggy Blackpool Beach, after temperatures plummeted to below freezing over night. The Met Office has warned there is colder weather to come after snow and sleet showers hit the UK on Tuesday. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Horses are seen in the mist as the sun rises in Werneth Low Country Park on January 23, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Horses are seen in the mist as the sun rises in Werneth Low Country Park on January 23, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
WENDOVER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: The Bucks War Memorial, in memory of those killed in the Boer War, is seen on Coombe Hill as some areas of the United Kingdom see the first snow of the year, on January 23, 2019 in Wendover, United Kingdom. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: A man walks his dog through the park as some areas of the United Kingdom see the first snow of the year, on January 23, 2019 in High Wycombe, United Kingdom. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: A couple walk through the park as some areas of the United Kingdom see the first snow of the year, on January 23, 2019 in High Wycombe, United Kingdom. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/01/22: A 'BRRREXIT' message is seen on a car windscreen covered in snow, in north London. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Snowy and foggy conditions on Saddleworth Moor in the North England. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A fresh covering of snow covers the summit of Beinn Ruadh near Dunoon, Argyll and Bute. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snowy and foggy conditions on Saddleworth Moor in the North England. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Farmhouses in Teesdale after a band of wintry weather brought hill snow and a risk of ice to large parts of the country. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Grouse on a wall in a wintry scene at Nenthead in Cumbria after a band of wintry weather brought hill snow and a risk of ice to large parts of the country. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Snow covers the Killhope lead mining museum in County Durham after a band of wintry weather brought hill snow and a risk of ice to large parts of the country. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 22: Members of the public make their way through a snow shower in Kelvingrove Park on January 22, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice with large parts of the country likely to be affected by the drop in temperature. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 22: Members of the public make their way through a snow shower in the West End on January 22, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice with large parts of the country likely to be affected by the drop in temperature. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 22: Members of the public make their way through a snow shower in the West End on January 22, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice with large parts of the country likely to be affected by the drop in temperature. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 22: Members of the public make their way through a snow shower in the West End on January 22, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice with large parts of the country likely to be affected by the drop in temperature. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 22: Members of the public make their way through a snow shower in the West End on January 22, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice with large parts of the country likely to be affected by the drop in temperature. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Mist at sunrise surrounds the Prince of Wales Bridge, over the River Severn estuary between England and Wales, where overnight cloud has prevented a frost and obscured the view of the total lunar eclipse for many parts of the west country. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Mist at sunrise surrounds the Prince of Wales Bridge, over the River Severn estuary between England and Wales, where overnight cloud has prevented a frost and obscured the view of the total lunar eclipse for many parts of the west country. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/01/20: A woman is seen standing while on phone at the Primrose Hill during a golden winter sunset after a cold and sunny day in the capital. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Walkers on a snow-covered path outside the Peak View tea rooms near Macclesfield, Cheshire. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man walks his dog through the snow in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Clouds over St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay as the sun sets, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow and ice in Northern Scotland and for ice in the rest of the UK apart from South East England as temperatures drop overnight. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
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By lunchtime temperatures in the South East are expected to nudge towards 4C, meaning the sleet and snow should turn to rain.

However the rest of the country, with the exception of southern Scotland and Northern Ireland, is expected to see wintry showers persist into Friday evening.

"Into the afternoon those showers will go into the Pennies and the Peak District as well," Ms Smith said.

The Met Office said a low of minus minus 15.4C (4.3F) was recorded just before midnight at Braemar in the Scottish Highlands.

Had it fallen more than 0.2C (0.4F) lower it would have surpassed the low of minus 15.6C (3.92F) set in 2010 – but it was still the coldest temperature recorded since 2012.

More than 100 people sought shelter at the Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor after scores of vehicles were stranded the A30.

Some students at Callywith College around 10 miles away were forced to stay the night after buses were unable to leave.

Across Devonshire 34 schools have said they will be closed or partially closed on Friday and 35 schools across Cornwall have also said they will not be opening, according to the two county councils.

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