Suffolk sprinkled with snow

BAH, humbug! It's arrived three days too early.Suffolk woke to a snowy world today, slithering and sliding to work, but hopes of a white Christmas were fading fast.

BAH, humbug! It's arrived three days too early.

Suffolk woke to a snowy world today, slithering and sliding to work, but hopes of a white Christmas were fading fast.

Snow fell across the county in the early hours as a wintry blast of northerly winds brought blizzards and sent temperatures plummeting.

Coastal communities had extra problems with people watching anxiously as high tides lashed beaches and battered sea defences.

County council gritting teams were out from the early hours salting the main roads and bus routes, but side roads everywhere were treacherous.

Police said there had been a flurry of breakfast-time accidents and urged motorists to take extra care, leave more time for their journeys, drive with dipped headlights and their cut speed.

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A spokeswoman said none of the accidents were serious and most were either minor shunts or vehicles going into verges, slipping on the icy roads.

Ipswich had about a centimetre of snow, while Felixstowe had twice as much. Areas around Stowmarket had a couple of centimetres, but the worst hit part of the county was north Suffolk, where it was snowing quite heavily.

Felixstowe was on Flood Watch over the weekend but was given the all-clear by the Environment Agency this morning. Last night's high tide sent 20ft high waves smashing into the prom.

Civic gardens in Sea Road, shelters and a toilet block were flooded, but the floodgates were closed and the defences were not breached.

Some water did escape into Sea Road underneath floodgates and blocked drains.

Evening Star weather man Ken Blowers said the wintry weather was not set to last – and it was unlikely to be a white Christmas.

Snow showers would continue for much of today but Christmas looks set to be wet and mild.

Mr Blowers said tomorrow temperatures would shoot up to 10C (50F).

According to Mr Blowers, white Christmasses are in fact fairly rare and the last time snow fell on Ipswich on Christmas Day was in 1970 when four inches of snow blanketed the town.

The snow belt stretched from County Durham and eastern Yorkshire, through Lincolnshire to Norfolk and Suffolk. Forecasters said it could reach as far south as Kent and the outskirts of London during the day.

Parts of Wales and Cornwall also had some snow, and in Scotland police forces urged drivers only to make essential journeys.