Hundreds Stranded by Heavy Snow

Hundreds of cars have been stranded on snowbound roads for a second night as temperatures plunged towards minus 20C.

Drivers across central Scotland were forced to abandon their vehicles after the worst wintry weather for several decades brought the country’s busiest highways to a halt.

Many cars and lorries remained where they were left after the bitterly cold conditions left gritters unable to get them moving safely.

As the big freeze kept its grip on the country, more than 100 vehicles were also trapped on an exposed route in North Yorkshire when a sudden heavy snow shower came in. Police said all the cars stuck on the A171 near Whitby were later released.

But Britons do not have long to wait from some respite from the freezing conditions, forecasters say, with temperatures throughout the UK on Friday expected to be above zero for the whole day.

Next week is likely to herald more wintry weather, however. More snow was expected across north-east Scotland, Northern Ireland and in Yorkshire and Humber, with widespread icy roads expected up and down the country.

Overnight temperatures in Scotland were expected to drop to minus 20C, with minus 15C in Yorkshire and parts of Cumbria. London was just below freezing.

Scotland has been worst hit by this week’s latest blast of snow and ice. Nearly half of children were also turned away from class north of the border as schools closed their doors.

The M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh – where hundreds of cars are still stranded – remained closed westbound between junctions one and four, after gritters were unable to remove thick ice.

Scottish first Minister Alex Salmond admitted his government had been “caught out” by a “perfect storm” of heavy snow and bitter cold.

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