Heathrow Airport has cancelled a third of flights for Sunday as the Met Office increases its Severe Weather Warning across the UK.
BAA, Heathrow airlines, and air traffic control have agreed to introduce a reduced flight schedule at Heathrow Airport tomorrow in order to minimise the disruption to passengers caused by forecast snow and adverse weather.
Other airports including Gatwick and Stansted are warning passengers of the likelihood of severe disruption.
Only 70% of flights will operate at Heathrow on Sunday tomorrow, the revised schedule showing which flights will operate will be published tonight.
A further revised schedule with additional cancellations may be made on a rolling basis.
Heathrow bosses expect the percentage of passengers who are able to fly to be higher than 70% as airlines will transfer people between flights and are advising passengers to contact their airline for more information.
Latest forecasts show that snow is expected to fall at Heathrow from 17.00 today until 06.00 tomorrow, with heavy snow fall between 21.00 and 03.00. A total of 5-10cm of snow is expected to accumulate, with a 30% chance of up to 15cm.
Reduced visibility is expected during the day on Sunday with possible freezing fog from 1800. Such events will reduce the capacity of the airport and without reductions to the flight schedule there would be significant disruption to flights and passengers at Heathrow.
According the airport authorities, introducing the reduced flight schedule will:
* minimise disruption for passengers;
* provide clear information for passengers about which flights will operate; and
* ensure that the greatest number of flights can operate without delay
Heathrow Chief Operating Officer, Normand Boivin, said: "This decision ensures that the greatest number of passengers can fly with the minimum amount of disruption.
“It also means that those passengers whose flights are cancelled will know in advance, and can make alternative arrangements or rebook in relative comfort."
This afternoon, the Met Office extended its amber-level snow alert to include nearly all parts of the UK from Saturday into Sunday.
Following the updated advice, the Highway Agency’s national traffic operations centre has also extended its amber alert to 9am tomorrow morning. Previously the alert was in place until 11.59pm today.
An alert means there is a high probability of severe snow affecting the network, meaning a risk of adverse driving conditions.
Snow is forecast to extend beyond midnight to 9am tomorrow and move from the west across all regions,
The Met Office has forecast warning periods for individual regions as follows:
North West – 12-9pm Saturday: Snow away from the coast turning to rain. 10cm plus of snow possible over the Pennines to east of Manchester and also on Cumbrian routes. Manchester itself probably having a briefer period with around 5cm before turning to rain.
North East – 1pm to midnight Saturday but clearing North Yorkshire northwards by 9pm. Typically 5 to10cm but northern areas seeing a little less.
West Midlands - 1-9pm Saturday 5 to 10cm.
East Midlands - 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday - 5 to 10cm typically.
South West – 2-6pm possibly across north east Gloucestershire about 5cm.
East - 4pm Saturday to 8am Sunday 5 to 10cm.
South East - 5pm Saturday to 9am Sunday - 5 to 10cm but rain or sleet near the coast.
All areas - Beware of freezing and patchy fog after the snow tonight.
Drivers are advised to make sure they are well-prepared for any journey.
ClickGreen will provide a rolling commentary of likely disruption and travel updates.