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Welcome to the flake district! Snow brings chaos to northern England

Welcome to the flake district! Snow brings chaos across northern England as experts warn more is on the way… and it’s flood misery for the Clooneys as Thames overflows near their luxury home

  • There was a threat from flooding at Sonning, where waters lapped close to George and Amal Clooney’s home 
  • Motorways ground to a halt and hundreds of schools, already teaching vastly reduced numbers, were shut
  • Overnight blizzards closed roads across the Pennines and a truck overturned on A50, shedding toilet rolls 
  • Forecasters predict more wintry weather next week, with potential for a ‘tremendous amount of snow’ in West

Nearly six inches of snow brought chaos to many parts of northern England yesterday.

Motorways ground to a halt and hundreds of schools, already teaching vastly reduced numbers, were shut.

Overnight blizzards closed roads across the Pennines, including the M62, where a lorry jack-knifed.

There was a threat from flooding along the entire stretch of the Thames between Reading and Windsor, including at Sonning, where the waters lapped close to George and Amal Clooney’s Grade II-listed mansion, although the building, raised above the garden, seemed in little danger.

The Environment Agency has warned that water levels may remain high for several days. 

A bit late for Christmas… a picture postcard scene of the snow around the railway viaduct over the River Nidd in the market town of Knaresborough yesterday

Threat: George and Amal Clooney’s Grade II-listed mansion at Sonning, Berkshire, which was put at risk after the Thames burst its banks with a threat of flooding between Reading and Windsor

Rolling, rolling…not rolling: Toilet tissue from a crashed lorry blocks the A50 at Lockington. The road was closed this evening as recovery crews worked to clear the A50 of toilet roll and removed the rolled-over HGV

 Chaos on the M62 with traffic on the motorway due to bad weather conditions. Parts of northern England saw heavy snowfall overnight, with the Met Office warning that widespread travel disruption is likely

An Amur tiger, also known as a Siberian tiger, enjoys rolling in the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster. The Met Office warned rural communities were at risk of becoming cut off due to the heavy snowfall overnight

On the A50 near East Midlands airport, a truck overturned, shedding its load of toilet rolls, and there were severe delays on the M1 in Derbyshire after a five-vehicle collision near Chesterfield.

Away from the motorways, towns and villages received a pretty covering, with the Met Office recording snowfall of 5.5in (14cm) at Bingley, West Yorkshire, by 9am. 

West Yorkshire Police were searching for a 13-year-old boy missing in the snow after he was last seen near a bus stop in his home city of Leeds last night amid concerns for his welfare, but he was later found safe and well.

Vehicles became stuck and gritters were out in force as parts of the country were battered by blizzards and villages were left at risk of becoming cut off.

The wintry weather, which also led to beautiful picture postcard scenes and dogs excited to play in the snow, came amid concerns Scotland faces a new ‘Beast from the East’ as freezing air sweeps in from Siberia this week.

Forecasters say a ‘sudden stratospheric warming’ event over the North Pole last month could herald a repeat of the white-out conditions seen three years ago as bands of rain from England meet winds from Russia.

Up to 7in more snow could fall today from the north Pennines and Cheviots into Scotland. Other parts of the North could see more than an inch of rain, particularly on high ground.

An Eddie Stobart lorry is pictured on the A66 near Barnard Castle in Durham on Tuesday as heavy snow falls. An alert for snow and ice is in place from central Scotland down to the Midlands until midnight on Tuesday

A view of the van on fire on the westbound M62 at around 8.30am yesterday morning during bad weather conditions

Two people walk their dog along a snow-covered road in West Yorkshire on Tuesday. Heavy snow fell overnight in the area, causing dangerous driving conditions

A child rolls a snowball in the West Yorkshire village of Honley on Tuesday. Forecasters predict further wintry weather next week, with the potential for a ‘tremendous amount of snow’ in the West

A polar bear enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, home to the only polar bears in England. The mix of sunshine and showers is likely until Saturday but high pressure over Scandinavia will then bring in freezing air

Further south yesterday, heavy rain left the threat of floods. There were 45 flood warnings and 142 flood alerts across England – mainly affecting Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and the Trent, Severn and Thames valleys – plus three flood alerts across Wales. 

Emergency rescue teams were searching for a car swept away in the swollen River Trent in Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, on Monday, amid fears an elderly couple were inside. 

Police, fire and ambulance crews raced to the scene after a vehicle was spotted drifting down the river having entered it at about 4.15pm amid unconfirmed reports from residents that two pensioners were inside. 

Forecasters predict further wintry weather next week, with the potential for a ‘tremendous amount of snow’ in the West. 

In central and southern England and Wales, today is likely to be mostly fine and mild with temperatures of up to 11C (52F). 

The mix of sunshine and showers is likely until Saturday but high pressure over Scandinavia will then bring in freezing air.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘We’re likely to have ice warnings, frosty nights, mist and fog.’

But there is the risk of low pressure running into the high, causing very heavy falls of snow.

A bench lies partially submerged next to the river Thames which has burst its banks in Pangbourne, Berkshire. There were 45 flood warnings and 142 flood alerts across England 

A person walks through floodwater in front of a home in Purley on Thames in Berkshire. Flood alerts and warnings mainly affect Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and the Trent, Severn and Thames valleys

A person walks through floodwater next to the Purley Park Social Club in Purley on Thames, Berkshire, on Tuesday

Snow is cleared in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, yesterday morning as the Met Office warned some villages could be cut off

A sign reading ‘road closed’ next to floodwater in Purley on Thames, Berkshire. Emergency rescue teams were searching for a car swept away in the swollen River Trent in Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, on Monday

A snow plough grits the M74 at Abington in Scotland yesterday morning as significant snowfall is forecast for parts of Britain

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