Manchester Airport has suspended all departures and arrivals due to heavy snow.

The airport said it was in the process of clearing runways to resume operations as quickly as possible.

"The safety and security of all of our passengers is of paramount importance and we ask for them to come to the airport as normal but to check with their airline for any further update," an airport spokesman said.

It comes as the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for much of the UK and police warn motorists to take extra care on the roads.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: "We have got snow falling in a number of areas in the north and west, including thunderstorms.

"There is thundersnow to the north of Manchester - these are normal thunderstorms but with snow rather than rain."

Sheffield City Council said about 16cm of snow fell on higher ground overnight with further accumulations this morning.

The weather has forced road closures in Durham, Yorkshire and north Wales and rail services between Manchester and York have been cancelled due to the severe weather. A number of schools have also been closed in the north.

Leon Brown, a meteorologist at Weather Channel UK, said: "This colder spell of weather looks like it will be with us until at least the end of next week.

"In fact, next week looks a lot colder than the next few days with a wider snow risk, and we may see some severe frosts, even over central and southern Britain by the middle of next week."