End to widespread freezing conditions but more snow expected in the north

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An end to widespread freezing conditions is in sight as a gradual thaw takes hold of the South, while the fall-out from Storm Emma continues to disrupt parts of the UK.

Temperatures in most places are due to gradually return to normal by the beginning of next week, with highs of 9C expected in parts of the South West on Sunday.

However, most of northern England and Scotland is still struggling to get above freezing, while high winds and freezing rain left thousands of homes without power.

This could become more persistent in parts of Scotland, with a further warning in place for all of Sunday and Monday.

An orange weather alert for lying snow and ice remains in four areas of Ireland.

As remnants of Storm Emma continue to bring bands of sleet, snow and rain over the weekend, 12 flood warnings and 33 alerts are in place, predominantly for south-west and north-east England coastal areas.

But as the snow begins to melt, it risks turning to ice overnight, with a Met Office warning in place for the South and Northern Ireland until 11am on Sunday.

Weather warnings for snow and ice on Sunday March 4 (PA Graphics)

“There is quite a lot of snow in some places across the South…so it’s going to be some time before all that snow melts away but temperature-wise over the next few days it’s definitely going to help things.

“The main point is it’s gradually turning milder so we are seeing an end to widespread cold conditions from this weekend onwards.”

The milder weather spells the end of frozen rain – the rare weather phenomenon seen recently which occurs when snow, ice, sleet or hail passes through warm air before cooling closer to the ground and freezing on impact.

But there are still hazards even as the forecast improves.

Northern Powergrid restored power to 12,000 households in Humberside and north Lincolnshire after freezing rain and high winds overnight, with around 3,500 still without power through Saturday.

Outages across the North West and north Wales were also fixed for tens of thousands of homes.

London Fire Brigade said it took 375 flooding calls in London on Friday night – many for pipes that had frozen.

Those experiencing the problem in Yorkshire were urged to use a hairdryer to gently thaw the blockage.

On Saturday, icicles caused damage to overhead cables in Bishopton tunnel in Scotland, while North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue knocked down dangerous shards of ice overhanging a footpath.

Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel as the cold weather continues around the country (ScotRail Alliance/PA)
Icicles at the Bishopton tunnel as the cold weather continues around the country (ScotRail Alliance/PA)

Overnight, the M62 in Greater Manchester finally started moving after being closed for more than a day.

Drivers are being urged to return to their vehicles in areas where it is safe to, after hundreds were abandoned.

Some roads, such as the A66, remain closed on Saturday as authorities work to clear snow.

Widespread delays remain as airports reopen and train routes resume, while many operators run a reduced service and ScotRail continues to advise customers not to travel.

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