UK weather: Met Office issues alert and police warn of risky driving conditions as snow hits northern England and Scotland

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A severe weather alert has been issued to drivers as the first significant snow of winter fell across a large swathe of northern England and Scotland.

High-level routes across the Pennines were hit by the wave of snow which swept across the north of the country from Tuesday evening.

The Snake Pass between Manchester and Sheffield was closed for a number of hours in the early hours of Wednesday morning before the road was cleared and motorists reported tricky driving conditions on the higher parts of the M62 and other motorways.

Motorists drive in the snow, in Leeds
Motorists were warned to drive carefully as snow made road conditions dangerous
Heavy overnight snowfalls across northern parts of England made travelling difficult on roads around Leyburn, North Yorkshire
Heavy overnight snowfalls across northern parts of England made travelling difficult on roads around Leyburn, North Yorkshire 
Motorist's faced a challenging commute this morning as heavy snow fell in Leeds
Motorist’s faced a challenging commute as snow fell in Leeds 

Highways England issued a severe weather alert, urging motorists in the North of England and the Midlands to check conditions before setting out and ensure they have a winter kit in their vehicles.

And commuters took to social media to warn of difficult conditions from Leeds, through the Yorkshire Dales to County Durham.

West Yorkshire Police tweeted: “#snow falling in the county this morning. Please take usual precautions. Take extra time for your journey.”

A dog explores in the snow at Otley Chevin near Leeds, West Yorkshire
Snowy scenes at Otley Chevin near Leeds, West Yorkshire as the first drifts of the year cause travel mayhem 
A road sign stands obscured after snowfall in Buxton, Britain
A road sign stands obscured after snowfall in Buxton 

And Durham Police posted: “Parts of Durham & Darlington are affected by snow & ice this morning, drive carefully & allow extra time for your journey.”

Further south, Surrey Police officers tweeted a picture of a car which collided with a “Drive carefully through roadworks” sign at the beginning of the M3.

The officers posted “Sometimes you just can’t make it up!! Single vehicle collision £drivetotheconditions.”

A car travels along a road near Bradfield north of Sheffield covered in snow after a cold snap
A car is driven on a road near Bradfield, north of Sheffield, with snowy fields on either side 
People in the Main Street of Bowes County Durham clearing snow from pavement
People clear the pavement of snow in the main street of Bowes, County Durham AND PICTURES
A snow plough clears the roads on the A68 at Tow Law in county Durham after a cold snap hit parts of the United Kingdom over night
A snow plough clears the roads on the A68 at Tow Law in county Durham after a cold snap hit parts of the UK overnight 

But predictions of accumulations of up to 6in (15cm) of snow in some Pennine areas appear to have been misguided.

The Met Office issued a yellow Be Aware warning for much of the west of Scotland, the north-eastern tip of Wales, parts of the North West and North East of England, and down into the Midlands, which was due to expire mid-morning on Wednesday.

It said: “This could bring accumulations of 4cm-8cm (1.6in-3.2in) across some hilly areas of northern England and Scotland, largely above 200m-300m, with as much as 15cm (6in) possible above 300m-400m.”

A horse in the snow near Tow Law in County Durham
A horse in the snow near Tow Law in County Durham 
A dark cloud hangs over a snow covered Castleton, Derbyshire after a cold snap in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales overnight
A dark cloud hangs over a snow covered Castleton, Derbyshire
Horses make their way on a road near Middleham, North Yorkshire as heavy overnight snowfalls across northern parts of the UK
Horses make their way on a road near Middleham, North Yorkshire 

The warning continued: “However, there is also the potential for 5cm-10cm (2in-4in) of snow to settle to low levels over parts of Yorkshire and down into the north-east Midlands, though with a good deal of uncertainty about this. Please be aware of the potential for difficult driving conditions in some areas.”

On Tuesday, the AA said it had experienced its busiest day of the year so far with more than 10,000 calls. Many drivers had flat batteries and other cold weather-related problems.