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Major incident declared as heavy snowfall causes travel chaos in Cumbria

Snow in Newby Bridge on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Dale Lambert.

A major incident has been declared in Cumbria due to heavy snowfall, the county's police force has said.

A multi-agency response is ongoing in the region, it said, as snow caused havoc on the local road network on Saturday.

Drivers in Cumbria have been warned by police to travel only if necessary as low temperatures, ice and snow were expected until the early hours of Sunday morning.

There have been multiple reports of vehicles stuck in traffic in the South Lakes area, particularly in the Bowness and Grizedale areas, due to snow.

Part of the M6 was blocked by jackknifed lorries on Saturday evening, Cumbria Police said, and some vehicles were abandoned on roads in the region.

The southbound carriageway between junction 38 and junction 37 was closed earlier this evening.

Superintendent Andy Wilkinson of Cumbria Constabulary, said on Saturday: “Agencies across Cumbria are working together in response to the impact that heavy snowfall is continuing to have on the county’s roads.

“We are working at pace, to help clear roads so those currently affected can get moving.

“I would urge anybody considering travelling in Cumbria tonight, to only do so if necessary. The cold temperatures forecast will make road conditions even more difficult."

Motorists have been reminded that highways crews have to clear the snow from the road first before gritters can follow to put salt down, so even if a snowplough has been along a road it can still be treacherous until it has been treated.

“We are aware of a number of incidents in which highway teams and those assisting in the efforts to support those affected by the snow have been verbally abused," said Superintendent Wilkinson.

“We understand people’s frustration during this time; however, agencies are working hard to improve the situation in Cumbria and are also facing the challenging road conditions when responding.

“The snow today ended up being much more significant than forecast."

A number of community venues have been opened to offer support to those impacted by the heavy snow fall.

If you are attending to not attend in your vehicle, leave this in a safe position and head to the venue.

• Ambleside - Ambleside Parish Centre

• Windermere - Langstone House, Broad Street, Windermere.

• Grizebeck - Grizebeck Community Hall.   

• Coniston - Coniston Sports and Social Centre.                                                                    

• Nr and Far Sawry, Braithwaite Hall.                                 

• Bowness - Lake District Boat Club, Glebe Road, Bowness. 

• Troutbeck - Sun Inn, Troutbeck.

• Staveley - Staveley Village Hall.

• Hawkshead - Esthwaite Primary School, Main Street, Hawkshead.

Gritters and snowploughs in Westmorland and Furness will be working "all night and all day" on Sunday to keep roads clear, the local council has said.

"Some routes have been difficult to access due to abandoned cars and dangerous conditions so please be aware it will take some time to clear all routes," said a spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness Council.

Around six or seven inches of snow has fallen in Ambleside and several cars were stuck on Saturday evening.

Ambleside Parish Centre has set up an emergency refuge space and made a plea for people to donate duvets and pillows. 

This video clip shows snow falling in Ulverston on Saturday. Filmed by Claire Errington.

A spokesperson for Cumberland Council said on Saturday evening: "Our amazing gritting crews continue to work around the clock as they have done for the last week, to keep our priority road network moving as well as clearing roads in the south of our patch in and around Millom which are struggling with heavy snowfall and abandoned vehicles in the area.

"We'd politely ask that motorists avoid the A595 between Millom and Broughton in Furness at the moment whilst our crews are working hard to clear this route. They have to first clear the snow from the road and then the gritters can follow on to put the salt down."

An amber warning, which came into effect earlier this afternoon, for snow covering large sections of south and west Cumbria remains in place until midnight on Saturday.

A yellow weather warning covering most of the county is also in place for snow and ice until midnight. An additional yellow weather warning is also in place from midnight until 11am on Sunday, covering most of the county.

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice has also been extended across northwest England, covering North Lancashire.

This means that snow showers, some heavy, combining with icy surfaces could lead to disruption to travel, affecting roads and railways. 

Bus services in parts of North Lancashire and Cumbria were affected on Saturday, including the 555 Lakes service.

Please check before travelling on public transport.

The Lake Windermere Wardens Facebook page posted on Saturday: "We have taken the decision now that the Public Slipway at Ferry Nab will be closed tomorrow. It also may be necessary to close the car park until it has been cleared of snow.

"Anyone thinking of travelling to the area tomorrow is advised not to unless absolutely vital so as to allow the clear up operation to proceed unhindered and emergency services may still be compromised.

"We will update once things improve. We will commence a check of boats on moorings around the lake and advise owners accordingly if any issues are found.

"We still have issues with our phones so please e-mail us if you have any specific concerns to lake.wardens@westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk

"Our main contact number 015394 42753 is now diverted to an analogue phone rather than through our digital lines to our computers, please only call if you have an urgent query or issue and as always dial 999 and ask for coastguard in an emergency.

"If you are already here and on the lake please note that Marine VHF Channel 16 calls to coastguard may not reach them as the local aerial for Windermere is currently down awaiting emergency repair, we are monitoring Channel 16 during working hours (currently 9am to 5pm)."

For the latest information on weather warnings, please visit here. 

The following roads are currently impacted by the weather conditions (information correct as of 11pm, Saturday)

• A591 Windermere Road (Plumgarth Roundabout, Kendal) to Wythburn – Severe delays and road is impassable due to snow.
• A592 between Newby Bridge and Windermere both ways just passable due to snow.
• A593 between Skelwith Bridge and Ambleside - both ways just passable due to snow.
• A590 Greenodd to Newby Bridge - both ways just passable long delays, queueing traffic due to snow from.
• A595 Kirkby-in-Furness and Grizebeck – just passable and queuing traffic due to snow.
• A6 from Kirkby’s Stephen Hill turn off (Shap) to Garth Row (Garth Row) both ways just passable, queueing traffic due to snow.
• Harras Road in Whitehaven – queuing traffic between York Terrace and Red Lonning.
• B5286 between Clappersgate and Hawkshead – queuing traffic and just passable.
• Woodhouse Road in Whitehaven – queuing traffic between the B5345 St Bees Road and Fell View Avenue.
• A5092 between Whicham and Greenodd - Queueing traffic and road impassable due to snow both ways.
• M6 southbound between J38 (Tebay) and 37 (Kendal) – traffic is now moving following an incident of jack-knifed lorries. 

For the latest information on the county’s roads, please visit the traffic map.

For the latest information on power outages, please visit: Fault list.

For the latest information on water outages, please visit here. 

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