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Gallery: Weekend disruption expected as forecasters predict heavy snow on Sunday

15:31 19 January 2013

Jasmine Love enjoying the snow in Christchurch park, Ipswich

Jasmine Love enjoying the snow in Christchurch park, Ipswich

Archant

PARTS of East Anglia suffered more snow last night – but forecasters are predicting the worst is yet to come.

Why schools shut

A SUFFOLK education chief has defended the closure of dozens of schools on Friday.

Thirty-eight schools and children’s centres shut down in the county yesterday after the region was hit by snow.

The vast majority of those who closed their doors were from the north of the county.

Willows Primary in Ipswich; Rendlesham Primary; Bawdsey Primary; and Orford Primary were among those in the south of the county to close.

Graham Newman, cabinet member for education at Suffolk County Council, said: “A large proportion of those schools that have closed have been in the Lowestoft area, people were saying the snow was quite bad up there.

“There are some schools that are so rural the roads are just not getting gritted.

“It’s only around 10% of schools that have closed - the vast majority have stayed open.

“I have not seen the conditions in Lowestoft but what I have seen elsewhere in the county I think it’s impressive so many have stayed open.”

Forecasters predicted around four inches would fall in the county overnight and warned of blizzards and possible snow drifts.

With temperatures not expected to get much above freezing until the end of next week, there is little chance the snow will clear any time soon.

Norwich-based Weatherquest said the snow would ease on Saturday but the largest downfall, up to five inches, has been forecast for Sunday evening.

The weekend is set to see a repeat of the rail disruption experienced on Friday, with services cancelled and speed restrictions imposed.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) said 43 gritters would be sent out over the weekend to help keep the roads open.

Guy McGregor, cabinet member for roads at SCC, said: “Our teams will be doing all they can to keep traffic moving and ensure public safety. However, it is equally as important for people to use local grit bins to make travelling easier and safer in their local area where they can.

“Gritting teams have worked hard all week to ensure grit heaps and bins are topped up and ready for communities to use during freezing temperatures. The county council is also advising residents to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours during the icy weather whenever they can.

“Abandoned vehicles make it very difficult for gritting lorries to access their routes, so it is important for anyone considering travelling to think carefully and assess the weather conditions before leaving the house.”

A spokeswoman for UK Power Networks said: “The electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can affect power supplies.

“Our priority is always to restore supplies as quickly as possible when the weather damages our systems.

“We are currently monitoring the weather closely and arranging for additional staff to be on standby. If the weather starts to affect the network, we have robust emergency plans in place to cope.”

The bad weather has prompted Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District councils to change their bin collections.

Waveney cancelled collections on Friday and rescheduled them for Monday. Meanwhile Suffolk Coastal scrapped brown bin rounds and put extra resources into other bin collections.

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