Dozens of flights were canceled at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports and Tube and rail services were severely disrupted by freezing fog and thick snow cover in London – wintry weather expected to cause the chaos for travelers during Monday rush hour.
A yellow Met Office snow and ice warning remains in place until 11am on Tuesday, following a fog warning for the capital on Sunday.
Just after 7am there were delays and suspensions across London’s underground network, and reports of motorists being stuck on the M25 for three hours. The M25 was closed in both directions at D23 to D25 at South Mimms in Waltham Cross for hours on Monday due to heavy snowfall. It reopened around 8:30 a.m.
National Rail said there would be a disruption to Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern services until midday. Southeastern warned customers not to travel Monday morning. The C2C was functioning in normal service.
Flights at Stansted Airport were suspended on Sunday after the runway was closed for snow removal, while more than 90 flights from Heathrow were canceled, and snow and ice led to the closure of a runway at Gatwick Airport for around two hours on Sunday evening. .
Weather United Kingdom | December 2022: snow hits London
At least 20 flights from Heathrow have already been canceled on Monday morning and Gatwick has warned passengers could face further disruption. Stansted Airport was operating flights Monday morning.
A Stansted Airport spokesman said on Sunday evening: “The runway at London Stansted Airport is currently closed for snow clearing due to weather conditions and all flights are currently suspended.
“Flight delays have been experienced earlier due to aircraft de-icing, which is the responsibility of a ground operator and the safety of aircraft and passengers is paramount.
“Passengers are advised to check with their airline for the current status of their flights.”
The track reopened at 3 a.m. Monday, but Stansted warned of further delays due to inclement weather.
The UK experienced its coldest night of the year so far, with temperatures in Scotland dipping below minus 15C.
Braemar in Aberdeenshire recorded minus 15.7C overnight, the Met Office said.
National Rail said snow and ice caused severe disruption across its southeast network on Sunday evening and warned delays would continue into Monday morning.
“To enable Network Rail to check that the tracks are free of snow and ice, which may prevent trains from drawing power from the electric rail, the first trains in each direction on all routes will be cancelled”, did he declare.
“We also have many trains in the wrong place following last night’s disruption, which will lead to further cancellations of services across the network.”
A Heathrow spokesperson told The Standard: ‘Severe weather conditions are forecast across the UK today and we want to reassure passengers that our colleagues are working closely with our airline partners. airline and air traffic control to get them safely on their travels as quickly as possible. possible. We encourage passengers to check their flight status with their airline for the latest information.
Heavy snow on Sunday evening caused chaos for motorists in London, with many accidents reported on untreated residential streets.
Snow started falling in London around 8pm on Sunday.
The AA advised motorists to adapt their driving to freezing conditions on Monday morning.
Sean Sidley, AA Patrol of the Year, said: “On a freezing morning, hazards like ice can be deadly if you don’t adjust your speed and riding style in cold weather.
“Always leave plenty of space behind other vehicles as stopping distances can be 10 times longer on icy roads.
“Allow extra time as there may be delays on your normal routes, and be sure to pack winter essentials in the car, such as warm, waterproof layers, a shovel, a torch, a fully charged mobile phone and a hot drink bottle.
“Pay attention to the warning lights on your vehicle and be sure to check it regularly if you drive less in winter. Dead batteries are one of the main breakdowns we see in cold weather and can be avoided by regular car maintenance.
The harsh conditions disrupted travel, with Manchester Airport temporarily closing both runways on Saturday morning due to “heavy snowfall”.
Elsewhere, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) sent a level three cold weather alert covering England until Friday, extending the alert from Monday.
The agency advises people to be mindful of cold-vulnerable friends and family and ensure they have access to hot food and drink, adding that people should maintain indoor temperatures of at least 18 °C (64.4°F).
Dr Agostinho Sousa, consultant in public health medicine at UKHSA, said: “Cold weather can have serious health consequences, and the elderly and those with heart or lung conditions may be particularly at risk.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you need to heat your home to a comfortable temperature for you.
“In rooms you use the most, like the living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18°C if you can. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night. Wearing layers of clothing will keep you warmer. warm only one thicker layer.
An easyJet spokeswoman said the airline is “doing everything possible” to ease disruption for passengers.
She said: ‘Airlines operating to and from the UK are experiencing disruption to their flight schedules today due to adverse weather conditions, with a number of cancellations at Luton and Gatwick airports , both affected by snow.
“Flights were also hit yesterday as snow closures affected Manchester, Liverpool, London Gatwick and London Luton airports with flight cancellations and diversions.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize disruption to our customers, including providing hotel rooms and meals to passengers affected by cancellations.
“Customers on canceled flights were given the option of a free transfer to another flight or a refund.
“While this is beyond our control, we would like to apologize to customers for any inconvenience caused by the weather.”