Snow moves in - with worse to come

News Shopper: Richard and Samantha Stretton, from Newcastle, enjoy a walk at the Angel of the North in Gateshead Richard and Samantha Stretton, from Newcastle, enjoy a walk at the Angel of the North in Gateshead

Large swathes of the UK have been struck by heavy snowfall, causing travel problems for motorists and rail users - with forecasters warning the worst is yet to come.

Six inches of snow (15cm) could fall on high ground later on Monday, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

The weather has already led to more than 20 motorists needing to be rescued by the AA from cars that had become stuck and led one rail operator to introduce a speed restriction and cancel services.

John Lee, forecaster for MeteoGroup, said: "Over the next 12 hours there is the chance of 5-10cm (2-4in) quite widely in the North East, East Midlands and East Anglia. Some of the hills in the North York Moors and the Lincolnshire Wolds could see 10-15cm (4-6ins)."

After large parts of England were hit by snow this morning a second heavier band is moving south and east. The Met Office issued an amber weather warning for snow focused on the East Midlands, eastern England, the North East and Yorkshire, warning the public to be prepared for the risk of disruption.

The AA said it had attended around 9,000 breakdowns so far - including 23 cars stuck in snow, mainly in the Grampians in Scotland, Oxfordshire and the East Midlands. A spokesman said breakdowns are currently coming in at more than 1,100 every hour peaking earlier at around 1,750 and the AA expects to attend more than 16,000 for the day, compared to around 10,500 on an average Monday.

Rail operator Greater Anglia said routes between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich would be subject to a 60mph speed limit because of the snow. Some parts of Norfolk and Lincolnshire could get a second snowfall as the weather system spins out over the North Sea overnight and back towards land again, Mr Lee added.

The rest of the country should have a dry but chilly day tomorrow. Temperatures in Scotland, the North East and Eastern England will struggle to rise above zero, while London will get to around 3C (37F). The warmest place in the country will be Cornwall, which will get to around 8C (46F)

Temperatures are expected to drop further to around minus 8C (17.6F) on Wednesday night with the possibility of more light snow flurries.

Motorists were warned by the Highways Agency to take extra care tonight and into the early hours on roads made slippery by snow and sleet in freezing temperatures.

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