Cold snap disrupts UK sporting events and travel plans

UK's Met Office issued a fresh yellow weather warning for snow and ice, covering extensive areas across the Midlands, Yorkshire,...

Web Desk
Sunday, December 03, 2023
A pedestrian walks in a frost-covered Hyde Park in London during a cold spell in January 2022. — AFP

Extreme weather has thrown a frosty wrench into the plans of many across the United Kingdom, prompting a series of cancellations and disruptions to sporting events and daily life.

The Met Office has issued a fresh yellow weather warning for snow and ice, covering extensive areas across the Midlands, Yorkshire, north, and central Wales.

The warning has triggered a "major incident" declaration in Cumbria as heavy snow blankets the region. Authorities advise people to limit travel to essential trips, especially in the South Lakes and Millom area. Reports of stranded vehicles due to snow-clogged roads have kept police busy, with Superintendent Andy Wilkinson emphasising efforts to clear routes for those stuck.

Cumbria faces an amber alert for snowfall, with predictions of 10cm to 15cm in certain areas, followed by overnight showers.

Temperatures in northern Scotland could plummet to as low as -11°C, according to the national forecaster. Slightly less frigid conditions also have been forecast for parts of England and Scotland while warning of upcoming wet and windy weather sweeping across the UK by Monday.

The weather turmoil has led to substantial disruptions in transportation and sporting activities. Glasgow Airport temporarily halted all flights due to unexpected heavy snowfall, causing subsequent delays even after operations resumed mid-morning.

Across various regions, travel warnings persist due to the risk of icy roads, potential power cuts in rural areas, and possible isolation of communities.

The impact of this wintry weather extends to sports, with eleven football matches in the Scottish Professional Football League postponed. FA Cup ties like Alfreton Town versus Walsall and Crewe Alexandra against Bristol Rovers were called off last minute due to frozen pitches. Additionally, adverse weather conditions forced the cancellation of a high-profile racing event at Newcastle, while Manchester United faced travel disruptions, opting for a coach journey to their match in Newcastle after their flight was canceled.

As the Met Office's yellow weather warning stretches into Sunday, a separate amber cold-health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency covers several regions in England until early December. The agency warns of potential health risks due to the widespread cold temperatures experienced across the UK, urging precautions for the entire population.

With temperatures plummeting to as low as -9.4°C in certain areas on Friday, the nation braces for further wintry challenges, emphasising caution and preparedness during this chilly spell.