Keep on dreaming of a white Christmas

SUFFOLK'S army of gritting lorries are on standby for a busy Christmas as weather experts warn the frost and fog is set to continue over the festive season.

SUFFOLK'S army of gritting lorries are on standby for a busy Christmas as weather experts warn the frost and fog is set to continue over the festive season.

But while Monday may be white from frost or even freezing fog, there is little prospect of a traditional white Christmas as there is no snow on the horizon.

County council gritter drivers have been warned that they could be on the road during the early hours of Christmas morning and again during the early evening.

A council spokeswoman said: “They have been out every day this week, and if needed they will be out right over the Christmas period. The roads have to be kept clear.”


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But while ice and frost will be a hazard for drivers, it is a generation since a significant snowfall gave us the traditional Christmas scenes which now seem to be confined to Hollywood movies and cards.

Star weatherman Ken Blowers said: “I wouldn't say it was impossible but it is very unlikely we will get any snow on Christmas day in Ipswich.”

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If there is no snow, this will be Ipswich's 36th non-white Christmas in a row.

And even then, the last “white Christmas” doesn't really qualify!

In 1980 there was snow on the ground on December 25 but Mr Blowers said: “That year is not classified as a white Christmas because it has to actually snow on the day itself.

“The snow in 1980 was what we call old snow which had fallen a couple of weeks before. It was just very grubby snow.”

The last white Christmas in Ipswich was in 1970 when two inches of snow fell on Christmas day. In 1938 there was a particularly harsh winter for East Anglia and on that Christmas Day six inches of snow fell.

SUFFOLK'S 38 county council gritters are joined by other vehicles from private companies engaged by the Highways Agency to clear trunk roads - the A14 and A12 south of Copdock - and Ipswich council's fleet of lorries which operate in the town.

Each gritting run over 1,200 miles of “Priority one” routes - A and B class roads and other busy bus and commuter routes - takes two and a half hours to complete.

Each run costs about £10,000 - and normally there would be two runs a day, in the early morning and evening. The gritters start work at 6.30pm and 4.30am.

And while the county tries to keep roads as safe as possible, drivers are being warned to take precautions including reducing speed and leaving extra times for their journeys, as well as using main roads where possible.

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