Manchester Airport runways temporarily closed by heavy snow and Etihad flight diverted

Airport runways were closed for about two and a half hours

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England's Manchester Airport has temporarily shut both its runways because of heavy snow forcing planes to divert to other airports.

One Etihad Airways flight was diverted to Birmingham Airport, about 120km to the south, with Manchester Airport out of action for about two and a half hours.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for Manchester due to the wintry weather, which is expected to cause further disruption. The city is expected to experience lows of -2°C on Thursday.

An airport statement on Twitter initially said operations would resume at the "earliest opportunity".

“Following a period of heavy snowfall, we have temporarily closed both runways,“ the airport said.

"Health and safety will always be our top priority and operations will resume at the earliest opportunity.

“Passengers are advised to contact their airline for the most up-to-date flight information.”

The airport said the runways were closed at 6.20am and about two and a half hours later operations had resumed. It told passengers to contact airlines for flight information.

The UK is currently experiencing a cold snap, which has resulted in rail cancellations.

Overnight temperatures fell to below -10°C in parts of the UK overnight amid warnings of snow, ice and travel disruption.

Drumnadrochit near Inverness in the Highlands hit -10.4°C early on Thursday, making it the coldest recorded temperature of the year. Topcliffe in north Yorkshire got down to -7.4°C, the coldest place in England.

A series of yellow weather warnings for snow and ice from the Met Office came in as a major incident was declared in Somerset due to the risk of flooding.

Snow at Manchester Airport on Thursday January 19 2023. Photo: Twitter

Warnings covering northern and south-west Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales suggest there may be "further wintry showers bringing disruption from ice and snow" while an ice warning is also in place for the south-west of England.

"Parts of north-west Scotland still have 34cm of snow lying, elsewhere this is around 9cm, and in sites across Northern Ireland we've got 7cm, and in Wales as well,” Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said.

"The main thing elsewhere is frost and ice, showers are focused towards the north and west of the UK, so elsewhere a frosty and icy, but dry start.”

A level three cold weather alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency, warning of conditions that "could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services" is in place until 9am on Friday.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 10:25 AM