Commuters are being urged to plan ahead as “blizzard-like” conditions continue to sweep across much of the UK overnight.
The extreme weather has intensified since parts of the UK were blanketed with snow on Tuesday, with the highest possible level of weather warning issued for Scotland and Ireland by the Met Office.
Red alerts have been issued for Munster and Leinster in the Republic of Ireland, where people are advised to be at home from Thursday at 4pm until noon on Friday.
In central Scotland, ScotRail has cancelled all services from 6pm until 10am on Thursday.
National Rail issued a warning at 3pm for people working in the red zones to head for home, with many trains being withdrawn from service with immediate effect.
Virgin Trains has cancelled all services between Carlisle and Scotland until at least Thursday afternoon and there are no replacement busses or trains running north of Edinburgh.
Heavy snow around the UK and Ireland is making driving conditions very difficult on the roads.
The Met Office has advised that a red warning means “you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather”.
Amber warnings are in place in the North East and eastern parts of England, as well as parts of Wales, with frequent and heavy snow showers set to continue until Thursday night.
Northern Ireland will also have further snowfall over the next few days, mainly in the south.
Commuters across the UK are advised to leave work early if they can to avoid potential disruption this evening, with the following rail companies all warning of disruption to services:
Buses are also being taken off the roads because of the treacherous conditions, with Stagecoach confirming that all of its services in Fife would be cancelled for the rest of Wednesday.
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As for air travel, Glasgow Airport will be shut for the rest of Wednesday, and British Airways and Flybe have cancelled all inbound and outbound flights from Aberdeen Airport until further notice.
Further south, work is underway to clear the runways of snow at Manchester Airport so that normal service can resume.
At Dublin Airport, Aer Lingus has cancelled most of its short-haul flights, and in London there have been reduced flight schedules at Heathrow and City – with British Airways confirming further disruption for Thursday and Friday.
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Police across the country are urging motorists not to travel unless absolutely necessary due to poor visibility and icy tarmac.
Three people were killed in a crash in Lincolnshire and a man died after a collision in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday morning, and there were several accidents on the roads on Tuesday night and in the early hours of Wednesday.
Lincolnshire Police have declared a “critical incident” and called for back-up from the Army and RAF to help reach vulnerable people stranded by the snowfall, with troops also deployed in parts of Ireland.
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Public Health England has urged people across the UK to plan ahead and ensure they have enough food and medicine, with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde cancelling all non-essential surgery due to safety fears.
The Met Office is forecasting minimum temperatures of -6C (21F) in parts of the UK overnight, including Glasgow and Norwich.
The South West – which has so far been less affected by the wintry weather – is set to be issued with an amber warning for snow and ice on Thursday, with rural communities likely to be cut off for several days.
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