A tractor fitted with a snow plough stands ready to clear drifts© London News Pictures/REX/Shutterstock

Hundreds of farmers are on standby to help police and local authorities in the rescue effort after snow, gales and floods wreaked havoc across the UK.

The Met Office issued 28 yellow “be aware” weather warnings for snow, ice and gales on Friday (13 January) after an arctic blast brought blizzards, 70mph winds and transport chaos.

Forecasters were warning of more severe weather on Friday and into the weekend.

Farmers were urged to take measures to ensure livestock had enough feed and water.

See also: Farmers on the east coast braced for floods

In Hampshire, more than 100 farmers with snow ploughs were on hand to help clear roads.

Similar operations were on readied in Essex, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Kent and other counties hit by the snow.

In the Devon countryside, farmers were urging “snow tourists” to stay at home amid reports of cars blocking icy roads and preventing livestock farmers access to their fields.

‘Stay at home’

Exmoor hill farmer Robin Milton said: “The roads are pretty treacherous.

“Some people want to venture out in their cars to see the snow and see how far they can get.

“However, many of the countryside roads have not been gritted or salted. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

“My message would be: ‘Please don’t go out unless you really have to.’ We don’t want cars blocking gateways and stopping farmers getting in and out of fields.”

Mr Milton, chairman of the NFU uplands group, also urged walkers to make sure they closed gates to prevent livestock from escaping from fields.

The Environment Agency has posted 11 severe flood warnings – meaning danger to life – in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk.

An evacuation is under way in Jaywick, Essex, and a similar operation will begin in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, later on Friday morning.

Coastal flooding threat

Met Office forecaster Aidan McGivern said: “There is still some severe weather affecting parts of the UK.

“The wind is causing most of the problems for eastern Scotland and the east coast of England, with 70mph gusts and the potential for coastal impacts on Friday.

“Increasingly, through Friday wintry showers will become confined to coastal areas and inland there will be plenty of sunshine, albeit with a cold wind.

“For Saturday [14 January] morning, there is a risk of a widespread frost and icy conditions.

“There will be sunshine across many central parts. 

“An area of cloud and showery outbreaks will push into western areas later on Saturday, bringing with it the potential for milder weather on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, farmers have been taking to social media to post pictures of snowy landscapes.