A LORRY crash has closed the M1 and 24,000 homes have been left without power after snow blanketed the UK last night causing temperatures to plummet.
Drivers returning to work or home after the Christmas break are stuck in tailbacks stretching back miles on the M1 southbound at junction 19 after the crash closed all three lanes.
Leicestershire Police said: “There has been an accident involving a lorry.
“Unfortunately, all lanes are currently blocked. Police and Highways are aware and are currently dealing.
“Please make alternative travel arrangements. Updates to follow.”
A lorry has also jack-knifed on the M5 at junction 11a causing traffic chaos this morning as Brits woke up to a sprinkling of snow in most of the country.
Up to 7cm of snow fell over Exmoor, South Wales and the Cotswolds overnight and motorists are being warned to take extra care on the roads.
Forecasters have warned of snow, rain, sleet and gales in central and southern England today.
The Environment Agency has also issued 14 flood warnings and 96 flood alerts, mainly in the South West and central England.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for rain and snow for the Midlands, London and the South East, the North West, South West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Meanwhile, a total of 24,000 homes have been left without power after snow fell across the UK overnight on Boxing Day.
Western Power Distribution confirmed 13,899 homes were without electricity across southwestern and central parts of the country.
SSE also has around 10,000 customers without power today.
A forecaster said: “There will be ice in the north. There will be more showers with winds picking up on Friday. We could see 55mph gales.”
It follows a Christmas Day that hit 54.5F (12.5C) in Hawarden, North Wales. The weekend should bring more double-digit temperatures.
The Met office also warned that temperatures tonight would be “well below freezing” and that this “will bring icy stretches to untreated surfaces.”
“There will be lying snow away from the coast, we’re expecting a couple of centimetres in northern parts of the country.
“Elsewhere, we’re expecting a widespread frost with temperatures of minus two (28.4F) to minus four (24.8) where there is snow cover and as low as minus eight in parts of Lanarkshire.
“There could be tricky driving conditions across the north in the morning.”
Forecasters say a weather system is moving east across southern England and Wales, bringing with it a mixture of heavy rain and snow with warnings in place until 11am.
Around 15,000 homes are this morning without power after in the Midlands, south-west England and parts of Wales.
Drivers have been warned to take it easy on the roads, with Northants Roads and Armed Policing Team (RAPT) tweeting: “Heavy snow has started. The M1 has quickly become treacherous. RAPT on scene at a single vehicle RTC (road traffic collision).”
A chief forecaster for the Met Office said: “Rain is expected quite widely within the warning area with some places receiving 40-50 mm.
“Through the night, it is likely to turn to snow in places, initially over higher ground in Wales and perhaps the Peak District, then central and eventually southern England on Wednesday morning.
“Snow is expected to settle mainly with a centimetre or two for most and perhaps up to 10 cm in a few places.
“These larger amounts are more likely over the highest ground.”