The 1995 snowstorm that brought chaos to Yorkshire and killed six stranded drivers

Sheffield was badly hit during the 1995 snowstorm
Sheffield was badly hit during the 1995 snowstorm

The 'beast from the east' may be less severe than predicted - but over 20 years ago, Yorkshire was struck by a sudden and catastrophic snowstorm.

At rush hour on January 25, 1995, snow which had been inaccurately forecast to fall much later suddenly hit.

Thousands of commuters across Yorkshire were forced to spend the night in city centre buildings as it became impossible to travel home.

Shockingly, six drivers DIED while trying to make their way home on foot after abandoning their cars.

Gordon Smith, 60, of Ovenden died after abandoning his car in Halifax and Glynn Metcalfe, 50, collapsed and died after helping to free cars trapped on Haley Hill, also in Halifax.

John Akam, 64, had nearly reached his house in Rawdon, Leeds, when he collapsed. Another man was found dead near his abandoned car at Gildersome Interchange, while two more people died at Pinderfields Hospital after suffering heart attacks while trying to make their way home.

The incredible night when Yorkshire ground to a halt

- More than 5,000 drivers were stranded on the M62 after snow brought the motorway to a standstill

- 30 stranded commuters slept in the lobby and bars at the Holiday Inn in Leeds

- A paramedic had to be taken by tractor to treat a patient in Halifax

- More than 200 people spent the night in Halifax Town Hall

- A school party from Cheshire had to spend the night in science museum Eureka! in Halifax

- A man spent the night in a workman's hut after getting stranded on his commute home from Birstall to Wakefield. The road labourers shared their food with him

- 800 people sheltered overnight in Bradford Cathedral

- Two women and a man slept in the cells at Woodseats police station, near Sheffield, after becoming stranded

- Passengers were stuck on two trains between Sheffield and Huddersfield overnight. The landlord of a nearby pub provided food and drink for them

- Over 50 elderly people on a coach trip to the Dales spent the night at Royal Navy wireless station HMS Forest Moor, near Harrogate, when their bus crashed into a ditch

- Ambulance crews had to battle through snowdrifts to deliver a 26-year-old woman's baby in Harrogate when a midwife could not get through

- Hundreds of theatre-goers were unable to leave the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and had to spend the night there after a showing of, ironically, The Winter Guest - a play about a community cut off during a blizzard. Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales and other actors were among those stranded, and one entertainer played the piano for the crowds. The theatre's costume department was raided to provide extra warm clothing

- 150 people slept nose-to-tail in the Palm Court of the Queen's Hotel in Leeds

- Passengers on a 5pm bus from Leeds to Harrogate decided to walk after it became stuck in drifts at Alwoodley. They made it as far as Harewood and bedded down at the Harewood Arms pub - then re-boarded the bus when it finally passed them at 1.30am