Commuters were facing a battle to get home today after braving the biggest snowfall in almost two decades on their way to work.
The worst snow in Britain for 18 years saw the country’s transport network grind to a halt and prompted one in five workers to stay at home, according to a snap poll.
Those who did make it in were facing yet more chaos on the way home as forecasters predicted a second heavy weather front would hit this afternoon.
With roads blocked, much of the city’s bus service still out of action and all but one underground line suspended, it is feared some may end up stranded.
Helen Chivers, from the Met Office, said more snow would arrive from France this lunchtime, hitting Kent first and then the capital.
‘There are a lot of showers still coming in from the North Sea. It’s winter for a change,’ she said, adding: ‘We don’t get this very often.’
The last time Britain saw such widespread snowfall was in February 1991. The Met Office says up to 30cm could fall in some areas, with others seeing five to 10cm.
It has issued severe weather warnings for much of Scotland and north east England, and is still warning of a high risk of extreme weather throughout the rest of the country.
Temperatures are set to plunge below freezing tonight, meaning conditions could become even more treacherous as snow turns to ice.
The weather is not due to improve until the end of the week, although the snow will gradually lessen and turn to sleet.
Two people are already known to have died in the freezing conditions. The brothers, who have not yet been named, were caught on Mount Snowdon last night.
Their bodies were found this morning after they apparently fell around 300m. It is believed they may not have had the right equipment with them.
Elsewhere, the weather caused more havoc and injuries:
- A 36-year-old man had his arm amputated after his car crashed into a field in County Durham at 6am.
- A 17-year-old boy was treated for hypothermia after falling into a lake in Worcestershire and spending 15 minutes in the water.
- Thousands of residents near Dartford, Kent, were without power as bad weather damaged a power cable.
- Hundreds of ‘non-urgent’ operations were cancelled after many NHS staff failed to make it into work.
London Ambulance Service warned it would only answer ‘life-threatening’ 999 calls because of blocked roads and staff shortages.
Roads were still blocked, airports closed, train services stopped and almost 3,000 schools closed this afternoon due to the massive snowfall overnight.
Drivers, who were told to only travel if absolutely necessary, faced huge tailbacks as cars struggled in the drifts. On the M25 this morning, one queue stretched 54 miles.
In London, there was chaos as the entire bus service was cancelled for the first time in living memory and only one underground line was running a good service.
A very reduced service finally started in the early afternoon, but only three routes were operating fully and another nine on a smaller schedule.
Not even the Blitz stopped the buses and there was anger that gritters had not been able to clear the roads before the morning rush hour.
‘London looks beautiful but I’m really angry the transport system has collapsed,’ said Michael Topper, 24, as he walked to work.
‘They’ve known about the snow since yesterday. The later I get into work the more money we will lose and it’s a really worrying time.’
Colleague Emily Marshall added: ‘I bet the economy loses millions because everyone’s late into work.’