Four dead in car crashes as snow paralyses UK

FOUR people were killed in car crashes as heavy snow blanketed British roads and wintry weather dubbed "the beast from the east" swept across Britain.

Forecasters have also warned that the UK could experience the "coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991" later this week. 

After snow covered British roads on Tuesday, three people were killed in a crash in Lincolnshire. It was one of 20 collisions on the county's roads within three hours, which included a crash involving a school bus with 45 pupils on board, police said.

The children were unharmed after their bus collided with a car and veered off the road near Deeping St James.

Many schools across the country were shut, including more than 200 in Wales, 131 in Kent and 62 in East Sussex, and trains were also affected by the snowfall, with cancellations and disruptions on lines across the country.

Southeastern, which operates in Kent, cancelled dozens of trains, including several to London, while other train companies affected included Southern, Greater Anglia and Great Northern.

British Airways also grounded dozens of flights from Heathrow Airport, while easyJet warned its passengers they faced disruption.

Farnborough in Hampshire saw the lowest temperature, with thermometers dropping to almost -9C.

Motorists have been warned to take extra care on the roads as "very icy conditions" are set to continue.

Wednesday is expected to be bitterly cold, with snow affecting many parts of southern England, Wales and eastern Scotland and conditions are not likely to improve for several days.

An amber snow warning is in place for the North East and Scotland from 6am on Wednesday to 12pm on Thursday, with up to 40cm of snow expected to fall during that period.

Forecasters have warned that snow will continue well into the week.

Meterologist Frank Saunders said parts of the country could see their "coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991".

It is expected temperatures could plummet to -15C by midweek where there is snow on the ground, rivalling temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.

From Thursday, another weather system, Storm Emma is likely to bring blizzards, gales and sleet as it meets the chilly "beast from the east" later this week.

The storm, named by the Portuguese Met Service, will move north through Europe and is due to hit the UK on Thursday and Friday.

It is also likely to be "significantly disruptive", bringing the risk of power cuts and transport delays.

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