UK weather: London blanketed by snow and Trafalgar Square fountain freezes over, as motorways grind to a halt in Kent

London was hit by heavy snowfall today as the UK’s big freeze caused major disruption across the south east.

Trafalgar Square’s famous fountain froze over in the wintry conditions with icicles hanging off its mermaid statues as the blisteringly cold weather engulfed the capital.

Parts of the UK were said to feel colder than the arctic circle as the chilling weather front swept across the south of the country.

Motorists on the M20 motorway in Kent were confronted with the sight of hundreds of stranded lorries, abandoned by drivers in driving snow.

Stunning images captured Trafalgar Square frozen over (Jeremy Selwyn)

Amber warnings of snow have also been issued by the Met Office for north east, central and south eastern England on Tuesday, and eastern Scotland on Wednesday.

It warned of “heavy snow showers”, with a spokesman adding: “Travel delays on roads are likely, stranding some vehicles and passengers.

“Some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.

Frozen Trafalgar Square fountains – In pictures


Jeremy Selwyn


Jeremy Selwyn


Jeremy Selwyn


Jeremy Selwyn


Jeremy Selwyn

“There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off.

“Power cuts are likely and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.”

It came as Londoners selflessly helped the less fortunate in a public campaign to buy hot drinks for the homeless, and by leaving hats, coats and scarves around the capital to keep warm.

A stranded truck on the M20 in Kent (PA)

In Brighton, swimmers were seen bravely entering the sea for a bracing swim from the snow-dusted stony beach.

Widespread snow is forecast, and the Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

By the middle of the week, the majority of Britain is being warned of the potential for delays on the roads, trains and in the air.

Snow covered Brighton beach saw brave swimmers go for a dip (James Mayes)

A less severe yellow warning for snow is in place from Monday to Wednesday.

Greater Anglia (GA) said it was limiting its services from Monday in anticipation of the snowy blast.

An advisory on its website warned that due to the forecast of sub-zero temperatures next week and large amounts of snow, the rail operator planned to halt its Monday night train services at 10pm.

Trains are running limited services due to the freezing weather (PA)

A limited service will run on Tuesday.

South Eastern urged passengers to finish their journeys before 6pm on Monday to avoid potential disruption.

Transport for London (TfL) warned passengers to check ahead of their journeys as disruptions were possible on Underground and Overground services due to the low temperatures forecast.

Road chaos: stranded drivers in Kent (Kent Event Marshal/Twitter)

Train operator C2C also warned of limited services, advising trips after 9pm on Monday could be altered or cancelled.

Lows of minus 5C (23F) recorded over the weekend marked the lowest temperature in the week leading up to March 1, the first day of spring, since 1986.

The wind chill, which could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F), rivals the temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.

Cars crawl along during heavy snow (AP)

The Met Office said that by the end of Wednesday, more than 20cm of snow may have accumulated in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said: “The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It’s not going to be record-breaking, but it’ll be pretty exceptional – winds are going to make it feel minus 10C (14F) to minus 15C (5F) during the day.

“We will see the first signs of that tonight in the shape of snow showers working all the way down the east coast.

UK Weather: Beast from the East freeze – In pictures


Stationary traffic on the M20 near Ashford, Kent



Frozen foutains at Trafalgar Square

Jeremy Selwyn


People walk their dogs on Blyth Beach in Northumberland



A lorry shed its load on the M20 overnight

Kent Police RPU


A driver clears his wind screen in Liverpool



Snow at Horse guards in London

Jeremy Selwyn


A car travels through Great Chart in Ashford, Kent



Snow surrounds the Angel of the North in Gateshead



Rare snow seen at Brighton Beach

James Mayes


A swimmer braves the snowy conditions at King Edwards bay near Tynemouth



Toby Stanton walks to school in Ashford, Kent, as heavy snowfall is affecting roads across the UK



Highways England/Twitter


Cars travel through Great Chart in Ashford, Kent



A Eurostar train passes through Ashford, Kent



Vehicles on the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9, as heavy snowfall is affecting roads across the UK



A double decker bus carefully makes it way through the snowfall in London

Jeremy Selwyn


Cars drive through falling snow on the A41 in Hemel Hempstead

Jeremy Selwyn


Parents walk their children to school in Ashford, Kent



Newcastle Quayside following heavy overnight snowfall



Kent Police were forced to close several roads across the county

Kent Police RPU


Snow blankets Brighton, East Sussex

Arry Tapiheroe/@arrykiwi via PA


A Virgin train leaves Newcastle Train station following heavy overnight snowfall which has caused disruption across Britain



Walkers in the snow near to Another Place by Anthony Gormley, on Crosby Beech near LiverpooL



Fishing boats moored in Scarborough harbour



Commuters battle the snoiw across London Bridge

Jeremy Selwyn

“That continues into Monday, with snow showers moving across the country during the day before reaching Wales.

“Winds are then going to strengthen and we could see some easterly gales through the eastern Channel and east Anglia by the middle of the week.

“That’s going to make it feel really cold, daytime temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be struggling to get above freezing for most of the country.”

Fishing boats moored in Scarborough harbour, as heavy snowfall is affecting roads across the UK (PA)

He added: “By Thursday evening, there are growing signs there could be some significant snowfall across southern England.

“Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.

“We don’t want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather.”

Frosty: The whole country has been plunged into a big chill (AFP/Getty Images)

Scores of schools across the UK have been forced to close due to the adverse weather conditions.

More than 130 schools in Kent were among them, plus 14 in Essex, 10 in Surrey and 62 in East Sussex.

The heavy snow and freezing weather also led to the closure of schools in Norfolk, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire.

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