Weather disruption in every direction

GATWICK Airport was forced to close overnight due to heavy snowfall, with flights at Luton, Birmingham and Southampton also being suspended.

Weather disruption in every direction,

Flight and rail routes badly affected.

GATWICK Airport was forced to close overnight due to heavy snowfall, with flights at Luton, Birmingham and Southampton also being suspended.

This morning, Budget airline easyJet said it had cancelled more than 70 services, from airports including Gatwick, Bristol, Belfast, Newcastle and Luton. A total of 34 flights from Gatwick have been scrapped, as well as 15 from Luton.

Stansted expected flights to run as normal but warned passengers to allow plenty of time to get to the airport.

Staff at Manchester and Liverpool Airports were working to return to normal after heavy snow forced them to close temporarily yesterday.

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Passengers at Heathrow, Glasgow and Leeds Bradford International also faced delayed flights.

The road was shut southbound between the junctions with the A6136 and the A684, and northbound between junction 49 and the A6136.

The Highways Agency said the A66 in Cumbria was also shut between the A1 and the A685.

Among other roads badly congested last night were the A1 northbound at Newcastle Upon Tyne, A30 eastbound in Cornwall, A27 westbound in West Sussex and the M27 eastbound in Hampshire.

Train operators across the country also warned of disruption to their services.

South West Trains - whose routes pass through worst-hit Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset - was running a restricted service today.

Chiltern Railways also said it was running an amended timetable, while Virgin Trains warned that trains on all routes via Carlisle were being delayed because of broken down trains caused by the poor weather.

Tube trains were running today, but with some delays. The Northern line was suspended between High Barnet and Archway, while the Piccadilly line was suspended between Acton Town and Rayners Lane.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: "TfL has well prepared cold weather plans which were put in place across our network again last night, working closely with our partners in the London boroughs.

"Tube, bus and all other TfL services are operating well this morning.''Our fleet of 38 gritters have been operating across the TfL road network working to keep the roads and pavements clear and de-icing trains have been running across the Tube, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and Tramlink networks overnight.

We will continue to closely monitor weather forecasts and encourage everyone to allow more time for your journey and to check before you travel.''

Salford City Council said all its schools, children's centres and local authority nurseries were closing.

At least 108 schools in Manchester have also been shut, with Warrington closing all its schools in the borough.

Several dozen schools in Gloucestershire - including Cheltenham, Stroud and Tewkesbury - are also not opening.

And more than 10 establishments in Surrey were closing their doors.

Other local authorities reporting school closures included Cumbria, St Helens and North Yorkshire.

National Grid, which issued only its second ever gas balancing alert (GBA) on Monday after a 30 per cent surge in seasonal demand, said the warning would not be repeated today.

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