Winter Storm Emma smashes into ‘Beast from the East’ leaving hundreds trapped on motorway in the United Kingdom

 Brits face travel chaos as Storm Emma threatens 20 inches of snow across the country today

EMMA-GEDDON UK weather latest – Storm Emma smashes into ‘Beast from the East’ leaving hundreds trapped on motorway – but worse is coming with 20 INCHES of snow, black ice and army on standby

 TRAVEL chaos continues this morning after hundreds of people were left trapped in their cars as Storm Emma was poised to smash into 'the Beast from the East' last night.

Frantic drivers desperately trying to get home from work were forced to either sleep in their cars or completely abandon them on the M80 between Glasgow and Stirling last night.

Many were trapped on the snow-battered road for 13 hours - with some forced to spend the night in their cars while others abandoned them completely.

While in snow-hit Lincolnshire,  the A52 became impassable between Boston and Skegness, with police warning officers would not be able to rescue stuck drivers.

Even snowplows were unable to get through to rescue drivers, with drifting snow causing piles up to a foot deep.

But experts warned the weather is going to get WORSE today with a staggering 20 inches of snow to be dumped on parts of the country, deadly black ice coating the roads and sub-zero temperatures freezing the nation.

Brits are now:

  • Bracing for blizzard-like conditions across most of the country, with Scotland expected to see around 20 inches of snow overnight
  • Preparing for more than six inches of snow across the rest of the country overnight
  • Wrapping up in -15C 'feel-like' temperatures as the Siberian winds make it the coldest spell since 1991
  • Dealing with "danger to life" warnings as Storm Emma and the "Beast from the East" clash over the UK - with conditions set to worsen tonight
  • Enduring travel chaos as planes are grounded, trains across the south canceled and roads blocked by several inches of snow
  • Stripping supermarket shelves in a desperate bid to stock up on essentials amid fears of being stranded
  • Facing the prospect of homes without power and mobile phone outages as the sub-zero temperatures wreak havoc on electricity lines
  • National Rail is warning that most services across the country are likely to be affected by the chilly conditions.

 The British Isles can hardly be seen under a layer of snow, in this satellite image from researchers at the University of Dundee

Transport for London is reporting a good service on most lines but there are minor delays on the DLR, London Overground.

The Piccadilly line is also experiencing minor delays and is partially closed between Cockfosters and Oakwood.

The Met Office has issued a red alert for Scotland, the highest level of the weather warning, that is in place until 10am on Thursday with up to 40cm of the white stuff expected in some areas.

Forecaster Craig Snell said although Thursday marks the first day of meteorological spring, "winter is still firmly in charge across the UK".

He also warned that extreme weather will grip Britain for another 48 hours.

 A jackknifed lorry out on the M80 Haggs in Glasgow, as the highest level of weather warning has been issued for Scotland and Ireland

"The red warning is our highest tier, we don't often see a red warning - the last one was back in 2016 up in Shetland and Orkney and that was for strong winds," he said.

"The last time we had the red snow warning was back in 2013 and that was for South Wales - they do not get issued that often."

Mr. Snell revealed that a red warning for snow has never before been issued for Scotland, England or Northern Ireland.

Dad-of-two Stevie Buise told STV how he was among those trapped on the motorway last night, but decided to ditch his car.

He said: "We got on the motorway at 2pm and at about 5.30pm I decided to leave the car as I was low on diesel and mobile phone battery.

 A jackknifed lorry out on the M80 Haggs in Glasgow, as the highest level of weather warning has been issued for Scotland and Ireland

“I had two young kids in the car so I thought I would take my chances while it was light outside.

“Your immediate thoughts were the safety of my children. I knew I couldn’t run the engine overnight.

“Temperatures were dropping and it was already -3C so I couldn’t make them sleep in the car.”

While Jim Elder told Sky News he was trapped for nine hours before police opened up one lane and allowed him to finish his drive to Glasgow.

He said: "There are hundreds and hundreds of cars not moving."

Police Scotland said this morning they were responding to a build up of cars on the M80 and M876 around junction 8 and urged motorists to stay at home and not travel.

Fresh from the Atlantic, Storm Emma smashes the UK today - bringing with it blizzards, black ice and gale-force winds.

Lincolnshire Police said yesterday the military is desperately needed for the next 24 hours as the force declared a "critical incident" after heavy snowfall.

It's hoped the Army and RAF vehicles could be used to reach vulnerable people trapped by the snow.

Amber snow warnings have also been issued for North East of England and the central belt of Scotland, in place between 10am and 8pm today.

From 12pm this afternoon until 8am on Friday an amber snow and ice warning has also been issued across south west England and south Wales.

On top of these, yellow snow warnings have been issued for vast swathes of southern, central, and northern England, Northern Ireland, and Wales - in place for most of Thursday.

In response to the impending heavy snow showers all schools, community centers and libraries in Edinburgh will be closed, the city's local authority said.

Plymouth Council said more than 80 schools would be closed on Thursday, with more than 50 in Newcastle and 103 across Devon remaining shut.

 A heavy layer of snow blanketed London last night