Blackout fears in ICEBOX Britain: Weather alert after -8.9C overnight

Blackout fears in ICEBOX Britain: Weather alert after -8.9C overnight

December 9, 2022

Blackout fears in ICEBOX Britain: Snow and ice alert after -9C overnight as week-long freeze triggers £25 ‘cold weather payments’ to hard-hit areas… while expert ‘can’t rule out’ power outages and councils battle to employ GRITTER truck drivers

  • Benson in South Oxfordshire was hit by lows of -9C overnight
  • Forecasters have modelled early warning signs of disruptive snow for next week 
  • Arctic blast dubbed the ‘Troll of Trondheim’ will bring temperatures of -10C
  • The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert from Wednesday until Friday
  • Sadiq Khan has triggered a protocol to shelter London’s rough sleepers
  • Is your home currently without gas? Email [email protected] 

Families were left shivering last night with temperatures plunging to sub-zero levels as the Troll of Trondheim tightened its icy grip.

Benson in South Oxfordshire was hit by the worst of it, with the village seeing the mercury plummet to -9C.  

But it was Stannington in Sheffield that will have suffered the hardest overnight – with a Major Incident still declared there.

Up to 2,000 properties are without gas after flooding wrecked the system earlier this week. 

Further cold weather is set to cause more misery however, with yellow warnings for snow and ice in place across northern Scotland.

Yellow ice warnings also stretch across the south-west of England, parts of Northern Ireland and eastern England. 

Overnight snow in Consett, County Durham. Parts of the UK are being hit by freezing conditions with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issuing a Level 3 cold weather alert covering England until Monday and the Met Office issuing several yellow weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of the UK over the coming days 

Engineers continuing to try and get gas supplies back to homes in icy Stannington, Sheffield

One resident there described their home as ‘as cold as Iceland’ without fuel to warm their house. 

They added they had wrapped their son in five blankets overnight but had still woken up cold. 

The trigger in some areas has also been reached for some people to get cold weather payments.

A woman walks her dog through overnight snow near the Terris Novalis sculpture in Consett, County Durham

A man walks through overnight snow near the Terris Novalis sculpture in Consett, County Durham this morning 

A level 3 cold weather alert is in place across England until Monday, with several Met Office yellow warnings also in force. Above: Snow on the ground today in Consett, County Durham

Scotland has seen the most of the snowfall. Above: Snow on the ground in Aberdeenshire

A commuter is seen cycling along a frost covered Blackheath Common in south-east London this morning

Areas getting the cold weather payments 







Boscombe Down


Brize Norton




Exeter Airport


Hawarden Airport




Lake Vrnwy

Leek Thorncliffe



Little Rissington





Pembury Sands











Walney Island






Households in 300 postcodes will get £25 if they area already in receipt of certain benefits.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Cold weather payments can be triggered right through to the end of March, giving people facing disproportionately cold weather that extra reassurance over the chillier months.

“We’re committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society and this additional help comes on top of wider Government support including £1,200 in direct payments already issued to millions of low-income households this year.

“Alongside this, we’re providing households with £400 towards their energy bills this winter, with our energy price guarantee saving the typical household another £900 on top of this.”   

And the icy overnight conditions spelled chaos on the roads as drivers struggled to cope.

It was made worse by the news that there is also a shortage of gritter drivers. 

A snow warning has been issued for parts of the UK as Arctic conditions caused temperatures to plummet overnight and the Met Office predicts up to six inches of in the coming days.

It came as reports suggested households could be alerted to cut electricity usage within days amid rising energy costs and sun and wind levels that will remain low. 

Last night the Scottish Highlands saw the mercury drop to -9.3C at Aonach Mor mountain while Aberdeen saw 2in (5cm) of snow. 

Temperatures dropped to -3C with snow in Whitby, Bridlington and Scarborough in North Yorkshire, while Gatwick Airport recorded -5C by midnight.

The National Grid said it is on standby to take ‘enhanced actions’ to shore up power supplies this weekend as wind levels drop, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A spokesman for the company said: ‘Margins are expected to be tighter this week, particularly for the next few days. This is based on our current assessment and is subject to change.

‘Our control room has a range of operational tools available to manage this.

‘These actions also include our enhanced actions.’

But Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action, said more must be done, adding: “Millions will have been dreading the onset of winter.

“Impossibly high prices and now cold weather will leave millions struggling to stay warm and safe at home.

“Our figures show that 6.7 million UK households are fuel poor after energy prices have almost doubled in a year.

“We hear daily from people who are forced to turn their heating off when they need it the most.

A woman walks her dog near the Terris Novalis sculpture today, after snow fell overnight

Snow-covered homes are seen in Consett, County Durham, this morning after last night’s wintry showers

A walker is seen in Dunsden, Oxfordshire this morning amid a frost and low temperatures

The Troll from Trondheim is set to bring low winds and sun exposure, making usual winter energy backups harder to come by

Gordon Pearson who took advantage of closed roads near Carrbirdge to get in a bit of cross country skiing

Locals in the village of Egton spread salt on the snow and ice to help motorists up a hill in the village

“The vicious choice is either huge debt or an unheated home, with dreadful consequences either way.

“We will now start to see just how bleak this winter is going to be.

“Despite the current programme of support, the Government must step in with more help for those at greatest peril this winter.”

Commuters are seen traveling in the wintery conditions on the North Yorkshire Moorson Thursday

A model suggested the snow could be focused in the south of England. The presence of snow will depend on the movement of the low pressure system in the Atlantic

The National Grid forecasts that wind generation in Britain is set to fall to 2.9 gigawatts today and 1.1 GW on Sunday.

This would take the company’s ‘spare capacity’ below ‘adequate’ levels. 

It is unclear exactly what these enhanced measures are, but it could include people being paid to use less energy at peak times, the Telegraph reports. 

A driver careered off a frosty country road in Banbury, Oxon, ending up suspended in a hedgerow

Charities warned that vulnerable elderly people could be caught out in the cold snap due to the cost of energy prices and blackout risk. 

Morgan Vine, head of policy at Independent Age, said: ‘The prospect of blackouts affecting older people’s heating and electricity supply this winter is incredibly worrying.

‘Not being able to put the lights on or keep warm enough could put many older people’s health at risk, increasing the chance of falls and making health conditions worse. 

‘Many older people rely on equipment that needs continuous power, have telephones connected to their broadband routers or use their TV or radio to stay connected.


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