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Heavy Snow closes Gatwick Airport

All flights at Gatwick Airport have been cancelled until 0600 GMT on Thursday after snow and ice forced the closure of the runway.

Passengers have been urged not to travel to the West Sussex airport and instead contact airlines to find out when individual services will resume.

More than 150 schools have been shut because of the wintry conditions in East and West Sussex.

There are also delays on the road and rail networks.

Southeastern trains said it had introduced a contingency timetable on Wednesday and Thursday.

A spokesman said: "We would encourage all passengers to leave London earlier than usual, before bad weather arrives in the South East."

It's set to get a lot worse before it gets better”

BBC South East Today forecaster Kaye Forster

A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said: "Due to severe weather conditions, Gatwick Airport will remain closed and is not due to reopen until 0600 [GMT] at the very earliest tomorrow.

"Snow clearance activities have been taking place throughout the night and will continue throughout the day to ensure the runway is safe for aircraft to land and take-off."

She added: "Gatwick has been disproportionately affected by the weather conditions with approximately six inches on the ground and further heavy snow forecast this afternoon and into this evening."

She said there were a number of passengers at the airport and they were being looked after.

The runway was closed at 2230 GMT on Tuesday.

The spokeswoman added: "It is vital that passengers do not make their way to the airport and check our website and with their airline for updates."

Some flights were diverted to Luton Airport in Bedfordshire earlier on Wednesday with passengers then being driven by coach to Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick said it had recently spent £300,000 on de-icing and snow-clearing vehicles.

On Tuesday Brighton and Hove council said gritters would be out on the city's roads during the night to top up existing levels of salt.

It said its duty officer would be monitoring the weather situation through the evening and was ready to respond, if conditions changed, but traffic was moving.

BBC South East Today's weather forecaster Kaye Forster said: "It's set to get a lot worse before it gets better."

She said a further 10cm (4in) of snow was possible overnight with freezing temperatures making the conditions on the roads "horrendous".

By Thursday, some areas may see up to 25cm (10in) of snow with temperatures hovering around freezing.

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