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Snow in Kent: Travel warning amid cancellations on Southeastern network, major disruption on M20, M2 and M25 and school closures

Drivers are warned to take extra care after a day of major disruption on the roads and rails, with more problems expected as temperatures plunge below freezing again tonight.

A yellow weather warning for ice has been issued by the Met Office and is in place until 11am tomorrow.

Snow is causing travel chaos
Snow is causing travel chaos

It follows a day of travel chaos caused by heavy snowfall overnight and this morning.

Many schools were forced to close, with people warned to take extra care while driving in the difficult conditions.

Travellers faced severe disruption yesterday, which continued throughout today.

People were initially warned not to travel, but Southeastern lifted the advice earlier today - although all routes remain majorly impacted by the conditions.

The following lines are suspended:

  • Medway Valley Line - Suspended for the rest of the day due to snow and ice
  • Sheerness Line - Suspended for the rest of the day due to snow and ice
  • Bromley North Line - Suspended for the rest of the day due to snow and ice
  • Hastings line - Suspended until further notice

Southeastern said just before 7pm that all other routes are severely disrupted, with special timetables running on some.

There was also "major disruption" on the roads overnight, but National Highways confirmed at 10.15am that all motorways in the South East had reopened.

They included a section of the M25 which was forced to close due to snow and jack-knifed lorries.

Meanwhile the M20, M2 and A249 are all operating as normal, say highways bosses.

Snow is continuing to cause chaos in Kent
Snow is continuing to cause chaos in Kent

Stewart Turner, network operations manager for the East region, said: “The motorway network is now open and traffic is moving after a challenging night. Our crews have been working hard to return the network to normal and we would like to thank everyone for their efforts to get our roads moving again.

“However, we would still urge drivers to take extra care when heading out today. Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice remain in place across large parts of the South East and East for the remainder of today and into Tuesday.”

Up to 25 gritters were treating the M25 at any one time last yesterday, spreading 960 tonnes of salt and over 18,000 litres of anti-freeze. Up to 15cm of snow fell in some areas.

Operation Brock, which was due to come into force on the M20 last night, was postponed in an attempt to keep traffic moving.

Kent County Council has urged people to travel only with 'extreme caution', saying conditions were difficult across the county.

This morning, there were a number of accidents as drivers faced a treacherous commute.

The London-bound M2 had delays between Junction 3 (Blue Bell Hill) and Junction 2 (Strood) after a crash. There were also queues on the M25 between Junctions 5 and 6.

Broken down lorries were causing five miles of tailbacks at the M25 Clacket Lane, with delays on the Dartford Crossing and on the M26 between Wrotham and the M25 turn-off.

A jack-knifed lorry on the New Thanet Way between Whitstable and Herne Bay was also causing congestion as well as a lorry stuck on Canterbury Road near Barham Crematorium.

This morning, rail operator Southeastern warned the weather was causing "severe disruption" across its network, and urged people not to travel.

A number of schools remained closed today, including Cornwallis Academy and New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone and Delce Academy in Rochester. Chatham Grammar, St John Fisher and the Victory Academy were among those to have followed suit.

Northfleet Technology College, Robert Napier and Twydall Primary, Howard School, Brompton Academy, Maplesden, Wilmington Academy, Five Acre Wood, Holmesdale School, Cedar Academy, Hundred of Hoo, Peninsular East and St Simon Stock were also shut.

The list above is not exhaustive and you can check which Kent and Medway schools have announced closures here.

Some attractions, including Bewl Water in Lamberhurst, also opted to close.

KentOnline and our sister radio station kmfm will be bringing you the latest travel news and details of any further school closures.

People were trapped on the M20 last night
People were trapped on the M20 last night

The yellow Met Office weather warning was updated at 7am today to warn that snow and ice will bring disruption to travel on roads until 11am tomorrow.

Volunteers from South East 4x4 Response told how they worked through the night to help those trapped by snow, and repeated the warning to travel with caution today.

Rescuers worked through the night Picture: UKNIP
Rescuers worked through the night Picture: UKNIP

Spokesman Alan Moles said: "We had around 20 to members out over the night, all around Kent, supporting Kent Police clearing roads.

"We have also transported hospital patients and vulnerable elderly people home after their vehicles broken down and the recovery services could not attend."

Members of South East 4x4 Response worked through the night Picture: UKNIP
Members of South East 4x4 Response worked through the night Picture: UKNIP

Medway Council announced it would still run its waste collection service but warned people to expect delays.

Both adult learning centres at Rochester and Gillingham were shut for the day.

Gillingham Market was also closed due to the severe weather.

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