Some supermarket customers have seen their online food orders cancelled as temperatures plunged as low as -10C and snow and ice brought treacherous conditions to some parts of the country.
Drivers were urged to stay off the roads with treacherous conditions predicted by the AA as thawing snow turns to ice overnight and freezing fog patches take time to clear.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for much of England and Wales and parts of Scotland after a day of heavy snowfall in some regions, with more wintry weather expected on Wednesday and Thursday.
Online shoppers have already reported having orders cancelled due to the wintry conditions, with redelivery slots unavailable for weeks amid huge demand as people continue to stay at home throughout the pandemic. It has raised fears vulnerable people and families self-isolating may be left without supplies.
One Tesco customer claimed to have received a text message notifying her that her delivery was cancelled due to ‘severe weather conditions’ just as one of the supermarket’s vans passed her house.
Alice Harrison, 37, told MailOnline she has struggled to find another delivery slot for her parents, who are shielding, saying she thought the decision to abandon the order had been ‘quite premature’ as the roads had ‘completely melted’ not long after.
Another shopper wrote on social media that he and his wife, who are in their 70s and unable to drive due to health reasons, had their Sainsbury’s order cancelled due to a ‘light scattering of snow’.
Age UK said it was worried elderly people could find themselves cut off by the severe weather and urged people to check on their vulnerable neighbours.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, added: ‘Bad weather, the pandemic and disruption to supply lines from Europe are creating a perfect storm, whereby even the most organised among us can find we’re unexpectedly cut off from things we need.’
Tesco said less than one percent of Monday’s orders were affected, but did admit ‘a very small number of deliveries’ had to be cancelled.
A spokesperson said: ‘Our colleagues are working hard to deliver more online orders than ever before. However, difficult weather conditions in some parts of the country meant that we had to cancel a very small number of deliveries.
‘We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and would like to apologise to any customers affected.’
Sainsbury’s similarly admitted ‘a very small proportion of orders’ had to be cancelled ‘due to dangerous road conditions for our drivers’.
A spokesperson said: ‘We continue to give prioritised access to our vulnerable customers for home delivery and a very small proportion of orders have been cancelled due to dangerous road conditions for our drivers.
‘We understand the inconvenience this is causing and are in contact with the customers affected so that we can arrange to deliver their groceries as soon as possible.’
Bands of rain, sleet and snow were moving across the UK on Tuesday morning, bringing dangerous driving conditions, particularly around Manchester, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Berkshire, the Met Office said.
In East Lancashire, there were ‘lots of collisions coming in as the snow falls heavily’, according to Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, while Highways England also warned motorists over snow-hit roads.
Ben Sheridan, of the AA, said: ‘Thawing snow, rainfalls and freezing temperatures overnight lead to challenging driving conditions, with roads likely to be icy in the morning.’
But the AA has said regional restrictions, imposed due to Covid-19, mean that roads are quieter than normal.
A yellow warning for snow and ice for much of England, Wales and Scotland remains in force until 10am after heavy snowfall in some regions, with more wintry weather expected on Wednesday and Thursday.
The warning area was extended at around 2am to cover more of southern and central Scotland, as well as further south-east to include parts of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
Freezing fog patches are likely to be slow to clear in parts of England and western Scotland, the Met Office added.
Temperatures were recorded close to freezing on Tuesday morning in central Scotland and parts of the Midlands, a Met Office graph shows, and were between 2C (35.6F) and 4C (39.2F) elsewhere, rising to 7C (44.6C) in Plymouth.
The Met Office said: ‘Wintry showers will start to fade inland in the afternoon, but they will continue to stream into coastal areas, northern Scotland and Northern Ireland.’
Temperatures in the afternoon are forecast to be around 4-7C across the UK, turning cold quickly in the evening with a widespread frost, it added.
Large parts of London, the South, South West plus the east of England and Wales and parts of the Midlands have also been warned there is a chance snow and ice could hit on Wednesday and Thursday.
A low pressure system will see rain meet cold air, turning to snow over hills and lower areas.
The Met Office said further warnings are likely to be issued this week as the cold snap continues into the New Year.
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