Brrrr-ace yourself for a wintry weekend across Norfolk

Norfolk is bracing itself for a wintry weekend after forecasters predicted three inches of widespread snowfall during Saturday evening.

The cold snap has already hit the western fringes of the county, as a member of our iwitness24 community proved with this photograph of an inch-thick blanket covering cars and pavements in Hunstanton on Thursday morning.

And the whole region has now been told it can expect similar scenes when cold, dry air from eastern Europe collides with warmer, moist air from the Atlantic during the course of tomorrow.

Last night Chris Bell, a forecaster at Norwich-based Weatherquest, said: 'We are feeling pretty confident that we are going to see snow accumulating on Saturday night and there should be quite a bit about when people wake up on Sunday morning.

'It should be arriving in the west of the region over King's Lynn by about 7-8pm, at Norwich by 9pm and to the coast by 10 o'clock. Between then and midnight it is quite possible we will see two to three inches of widespread snow, but potentially even more than that in some areas, which could get as much as four or five inches.

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'This has been a pretty well forecast event, and it is not going to take anyone by surprise. The only thing I'm worried about is on pavements and untreated roads which if it re-freezes could become quite icy on Sunday morning, so people need to be careful.'

Road users are being advised to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they travel this weekend. The Highways Agency has issued an Amber Alert and warned motorists to take extra care when travelling due to the increased risk of adverse driving conditions.

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Norfolk County Council's gritting teams are also gearing up for a busy weekend amid freezing temperatures – but motorists, residents and businesses have also been urged to play their part.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: 'In severe weather, especially heavy snow, our gritters have to concentrate on the priority network of just over 2,000 miles – a third of the network – so we are encouraging local communities to do what they can to help.

'It's also important to understand the limitations of gritting. The roads have been well prepared for the cold weather - the salt on the surface has been very obvious over the last few days - but that will not stop heavy snow from covering roads, and it often takes the action of traffic before the salt starts to work.

'I also want to stress that there really is no risk if people take sensible action to clear snow and ice from outside their own properties. This is a public-spirited action that makes things safer for all. Suggestions that you somehow make yourself automatically liable for any slip or fall are complete nonsense.'

Mr Bell said the snowy spell will usher in a cold start to next week, with temperatures falling to -2 or -3 degrees during the day, and plunging as low as -5 overnight.

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