Drivers urged to take care on icy roads

LORNA MARSH The flurry of snow that fell on Norfolk and north Suffolk today forced Norwich airport to close for more than two hours and saw a number of minor accidents as well as some school closures. Meanwhile drivers have been urged to continue to take care on rural roads that could turn to ice if, as forecast, temperatures dip below freezing on Thursday night and Friday morning.

LORNA MARSH

It might have escaped the heavy blizzards that gripped large swathes of the country bringing chaos to transport, businesses and schools.

But the flurry of snow that fell on Norfolk and north Suffolk today still forced Norwich airport to close for more than two hours and saw a number of minor accidents as well as some school closures.

Meanwhile drivers have been urged to continue to take care on rural roads that could turn to ice if, as forecast, temperatures dip below freezing tonight and Friday morning.

Roads in the Midlands, south and mid-Wales and Northern Ireland were paralysed and rail services cancelled while schools and airports, including Stansted, were closed for the day with up to six inches of snow seen in some parts.

But at the most South Norfolk and North Suffolk saw a smattering while road and rail networks ran relatively normally.

Most Read

Two schools were closed in the south of Norfolk - Redcastle Furze Primary at Thetford and Shelton with Hardwick, near Long Stratton. Suffolk saw 69 closures but only one of those, Warren special school in Lowestoft, was in the north of the county and closed because it had such a wide catchment area.

Norwich International Airport shut for a few hours at 11am, forcing the cancellation of nine flights in and out until it reopened at 1.20pm. Only slight delays were seen on some One trains into London and on First Capital Connect which runs rail services from West Norfolk to the Midlands and North.

The warning for drivers however was still to take it carefully. Norfolk County Council gritters were out in force early today morning to cover A and B roads and those connecting villages but some rural roads left ungritted are expected to become slippery.

Accidents today included a minor collision involving two vans on the A146 near Hales in the morning while the official opening of the three-mile £30m dualling of the Attleborough bypass was cancelled, with Highways Agency officials advising motorists to only use the roads if their journey was essential.

Norwich City Council had four trucks on stand-by at key danger points at the top of Cattlemarket Street, Ketts Hill roundabout, Grapes Hill roundabout and on Guardian Road to grit where necessary and keep traffic moving by helping with accidents, although these lay unused for much of the day.

Jim Bacon, duty forecaster at WeatherQuest, based at the UEA in Norwich, said: “When the snow area moves away we will get frost and possibly freezing fog so people must not keep their eyes off the ball.

“Drivers have to be careful of coming off a nice gritted main road onto a back road that looks wet but could be very slippery and icy.”