Freezing temperatures hit region

ARCTIC winds which brought a flurry of snow to East Anglia yesterday are not predicted to last, forecasters have said.Freezing temperatures and strong winds - caused by winds direct from the Arctic Circle - created some treacherous conditions, particularly in west Suffolk, the likes of which are not normally seen until January or February.

ARCTIC winds which brought a flurry of snow to East Anglia yesterday are not predicted to last, forecasters have said.

Freezing temperatures and strong winds - caused by winds direct from the Arctic Circle - created some treacherous conditions, particularly in west Suffolk, the likes of which are not normally seen until January or February.

Elsewhere in the country, the extreme weather created chaos, with blizzards stranding motorists and forcing schools to close.

Police and the military were last night battling through snow to help more than 100 vehicles - including coaches - which had ground to a halt on Cornwall's Bodmin Moor. Residents said more than five inches of snow had fallen in the area.

EADT weatherman Ken Blowers predicted last night that the wind will shift to the north east, bringing sleet, rain and hail to the region for the next three days instead of snow.

“The outlook is for bitterly cold winds shifting to become winds coming off the North Sea,” said Mr Blowers.

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“It is very rare to get freezing winds in November. The temperature was just below freezing during the night and by noon yesterday it had only risen a couple of degrees, which is unusual.

“The earliest we have had snow over the last 20 years was in 1993 when snow fell on November 20.”

Police spokesman Mike Nunn said the morning snow flurries did not appear to have caused any major problems on the roads in and around Bury St Edmunds, where the fiercest of the weather was concentrated.

However, he warned drivers to take extra care during the current conditions: “We are expecting freezing and wintry conditions and we would advise people to bear this mind before setting out.

“Please allow extra time and ensure your car is roadworthy with clear lights and windscreens, decrease your speed and increase the distance between yourself and other drivers.”

Police forces in the worst-hit parts of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and South West England reported a spate of weather-related rescues and crashes on treacherous roads, despite gritters working flat out overnight.

A spokesman from Age Concern Suffolk warned elderly residents to take extra precautions. “We would urge senior citizens to turn their heating up now if they are feeling cold,” he said.

“If this means you get a larger bill and you are worried about paying it, contact your local Age Concern office as soon as you receive the bill as there are a number of things we can do to assist.

“There are particular benefits available to assist during the cold weather, such as the Winter Fuel Payment which is paid to all pensioner households.”

A cold weather payment of £8.50 per week is also paid to senior citizens in receipt of Pension Credit if the weather is very cold for a consecutive period of seven days, he said.

Free and confidential advice about all benefits for people over 60 is available from Age Concern Suffolk's Advice Service.

The cold has also prompted a surge in demand for traditional winter favourites such as soups, pies, casseroles, puddings, custard and hot chocolate, superstore Tesco said.

Its sales of porridge have gone up 27% on an average week, soups 25%, custard up 20% and crumpets, muffins and pancakes up 15%. Hot chocolate sales have surged 37%.

Bookmaker Coral has also cut the odds on there being a white Christmas from 7-2 to 3-1.

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