The M62 is back open after it was shut due to severe snow storms leaving 3,500 drivers stranded.

Some 200 of those motorists had to spend overnight Thursday on the motorway in freezing temperatures and 100mph winds after rescue operations and work by police and Highways England was unable to get it moving again.

The army was drafted on Friday morning in to clear the snow and free the trapped vehicles but even after this the motorway could not reopen due to 90mph winds.

The vast majority were moved that night but more than 200 people spent the night in their vehicles, some without food, water or heat.

Highways England said the winds were a threat to life and it would only reopen when winds dropped to 60mph.

This morning a spokesman said: "In the early hours of this morning the M62 across Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire has fully reopened between J20-J22 (east) and J24-J21 (west). Many thanks for your patience during this closure."

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "The M62 between junction 20 (Rochdale) and junction 24 (Huddersfield) has now reopened.

"After another night of officers working tirelessly in the snow alongside colleagues from partner agencies, including Highways England, the motorway was cleared and reopened at around 2am this morning.

"The A58 between Littleborough and Ripponden and the A672 between Denshaw and Rishworth have both been reopened too.

"We would like to thank members of the public for their patience whilst work on these roads was carried out.

"Please continue to take the weather into account when planning your journeys and drive carefully."

Meanwhile, forecasters have warned that as rain begins to fall on snow-covered roads , the potential for ice to form could bring further hazards.

A yellow weather warning for ice is in place for much of England until 11am.

One trapped driver George Blythe, who was stuck near the Saddleworth junction for just over eight hours until 2.30am, said: “I was meant to have a job interview at 9am in Manchester so I thought I would head down the night before. Turns out that wasn’t such a great idea.”

The chaos on the M62 was dealt with by Greater Manchester Police with assistance from other emergency services, mountain rescue volunteers, Highways England and others.

Greater Manchester Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts confirmed that 3,500 vehicles had been stuck on the M62 at the height of the incident.

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He said the central reservation barrier was cut and the vast majority of those vehicles were then directed back down the westbound carriageway and into Greater Manchester.

The police chief said 200 vehicles spent the whole night on the motorway.

Police were recovering people in distress, or those who needed help, in liveried vehicles. Off-road 4x4 vehicles were also used to reach the stranded.

In Milnrow, local people braved atrocious weather to take supplies to those stuck on the motorway .

Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said: "It won't feel quite as cold compared to what we've seen previously, but the potential for ice could mean roads are very slippery."

Some roads remain closed on Saturday - including the Woodhead-Holme Moss Road above Holmfirth and the Woodhead Pass - as authorities work to clear snow, while flights and trains continue to be affected. However, many transport services are beginning to get back to normal.