British told to 'stay at home' as big freeze bites

Drivers in parts of Britain hit by snow and ice were warned to only drive today if absolutely necessary after the big freeze wreaked havoc on the roads.

Drivers in parts of Britain hit by snow and ice were warned to only drive today if absolutely necessary after the big freeze wreaked havoc on the roads.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters trying to get home from London last night were stranded for hours as major routes were gridlocked, bus services were minimal and tube lines were suspended.

Britain's AA Roadwatch said it was the worst congestion seen in the capital for several years.

London Underground passengers were already facing chaos because of the closure of the Central line and the Waterloo and City line following last weekend’s derailment at Chancery Lane.

The M11 in Essex was blocked for much of the night by accidents and difficult driving conditions.

Some commuters reported still being stuck in the jam this morning on their way home from work yesterday.

Stansted airport was closed last night for safety reasons but was expected to reopen later today. Many services were also cancelled at Heathrow and Gatwick, airport operator BAA said.

A spokeswoman said: “Customers should allow extra time for their journey to the airport and may also experience some delays to their departure due to the disruption caused by the bad weather.”

British mainline train services were also hit, with severe delays and cancellations.

In east Lincolnshire, 10,000 people were left without heating and light, and about 30 schools closed early.

The appalling weather may also have contributed to the death of a schoolgirl Rianna Davenport, who was crushed by a falling tree at her primary school in Ashtead, Surrey, yesterday.

British forecasters said snow was still falling in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of North Yorkshire this morning.

London and the South East were set to clear but with temperatures expected to remain below 2C, roads were likely to remain dangerously icy, PA WeatherCentre said.

Forecaster Paul Mott said the east of the country will be hit by snow again tonight.

“It could be heavy for a time, leading to more dangerous, icy conditions.”

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