'˜Mini Beast from the East' snowfall sparks travel chaos in Leeds

Leeds suffered fresh weather woes today after heavy overnight snowfalls triggered travel chaos across the city and the rest of the county.

Sunday, 18th March 2018, 9:06 am
Updated Sunday, 18th March 2018, 1:40 pm
Cars struggle to negotiate Lidget Hill in Pudsey in today's snow. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Buses, trains and flights were all disrupted after Yorkshire woke up to a whiteout courtesy of the so-called ‘mini Beast from the East’.

West Yorkshire Police last said motorists should only take to the road “if absolutely necessary”.

The force described driving conditions as “really difficult” and said numerous collisions had been reported across the county.

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Bus users faced widespread disruption today, with many First Leeds services operating on main roads only.

Transport bosses at Metro said some services had been suspended in Wakefield as a result of “heavy snowfall and black ice”.

Arriva Yorkshire at one stage suspended all buses operating from its Dewsbury depot due to what it called “horrendous road conditions”.

Leeds City Council said its gritting teams were out overnight and this morning.

The council tweeted: “We also have the ploughs out and have been trying to deal with the snow on high routes and areas of drifting.”

Flights were disrupted at Leeds Bradford Airport, with passengers being advised to check with their airline for the latest information.

On the trains, services were subject to delays and cancellations on routes including Leeds-Knottingley, Leeds-Sheffield via Barnsley, Leeds-York via Harrogate and Leeds-Halifax.

Rail replacement buses between Leeds and Todmorden and Leeds and Huddersfield were also hit by delays.

In North Yorkshire, fire crews rescued a woman who was stuck in her car on the B1257 at Chop Gate, near Stokesley.

Further afield, the A66 was closed in both directions between the A685 at Brough and the A67 at Bowes, west of Barnard Castle.

The M25 was gridlocked yesterday between junctions 17 and 18 anti-clockwise after an air ambulance attended a crash, while a collision also closed the westbound junction of the M4 in Wiltshire between junctions 14 and 15.

Eleven people were rescued or made their own way to safety after two rowing boats and an accompanying safety boat capsized in the River Stour in Bournemouth.

A Met Office weather warning is due to remain in place for Yorkshire and the Humber for the rest of the day, although forecasters say the region should be spared the worst of any further snow.

Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said: “It’s going to be a very, very cold start, with a widespread frost and ice around as well.

“And we have plenty of snow showers to start the day. These will be heaviest and most frequent across southwestern areas, so we’re talking parts of Wales and the south west of England in particular.

“Across some southwestern parts the snow will continue throughout the day. We’re looking at some fairly large snowfall totals.”

Mr Wilson said people could see 10-15cm of snow, and up to 25cm over higher ground.

He said snow showers outside of the South West were expected to ease throughout the day, with some spells of sunshine possible.

“It will stay windy, and it will stay very cold indeed. Temperatures [will be] barely above freezing, and in the wind it will feel like it’s well below freezing,” he added.

The weather has forced the postponement of today’s Super League fixture between Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

Castleford safety officer Ian Crawford said: “Postponing a game is never an option we take lightly and I must give praise to our groundsman Stuart Vause who really has worked so hard over the past week.

“The sheer volume of rainfall we had before the snow and sub zero temparatures overnight have left us with a frozen pitch and frozen terraces.

“We would never want to put anyone in danger while attending a match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle so postponing this match is unfortunately our only option.”

In the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, Hunslet’s game against Bradford Bulls and Featherstone Rovers’ visit to North Wales Crusaders have fallen victim to the weather.

Yorkshire Carnegie’s match against Ealing Trailfinders at Emerald Headingley Stadium is also off.

Tuesday’s scheduled horse racing at Wetherby is subject to an inspection.