Drivers return to abandoned cars
12:51pm Saturday 26th January 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Drivers are returning to their abandoned vehicles after heavy snow storms left hundreds stranded on motorways in the north of England.
The M6 was blocked in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 in Lancashire when a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow brought drivers to a standstill on Friday night, the Highways Agency said.
Many became stuck along the stretch of motorway between Wigan and Standish after struggling to make it up inclines in the treacherous conditions, while a number of accidents including jack-knifed lorries also blocked lanes.
Forecasters have now warned that milder temperatures overnight will cause snow to thaw rapidly, with heavy rain expected to bring the risk of flooding.
Mountain rescue workers walked along a four-mile stretch of the M6 in Lancashire in the early hours of the morning to check on the condition of drivers.
A diabetic man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital after falling ill, while an ambulance taking a female patient to Royal Preston Hospital had to be dug out of the snow by Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue team.
Phil O'Brien, team leader of Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue, said: "It was potentially a very serious situation. The Highways Agency managed to get people moving at about 4.30 to 5am. There were hundreds of cars stuck but most people seemed in good spirits."
Some of the stranded drivers passed the time having snowball fights and building snowmen, while others abandoned their cars completely.
Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale David Morris, who was stuck on the south-bound carriageway, told Sky News: "We've ground to a halt on both sides. Nothing is really moving.
"But the emergency services have been fantastic and are doing the best for us, and everyone is in good spirits."