Gallery: Cold spell is set to continue

THE cold snap is set to continue to grip the region this week as more snow is forecast and temperatures struggle to stay above freezing.

Lizzie Parry

THE cold snap is set to continue to grip the region this week as more snow is forecast and temperatures struggle to stay above freezing.

The coldest start to the year for 12 years in East Anglia brought snow showers overnight dusting rooftops and cars and continuing throughout the day.

And last night there was a warning temperatures could drop as low as -5C(23F).

Ipswich weatherman Ken Blowers said yesterday just under an inch of snow had fallen in most places and warned there will be further snow showers over the next few days together with a severe frost.

“There will be very, very hard frost,” he said. “Temperatures are down to -3C(26F). Temperatures have been below average every day since Christmas Day.

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“It has been the coldest start to a winter since 1996-97 and the wind from the north east makes it feel even colder than it has been over the weekend.

“It is coming down from the north on a weak cold front. The outlook is that the cold weather will go on for the whole of this coming week.”

He said the current cold spell had bucked the trend for this time of year: “The last three or four winters have been mainly mild. Over the last five or six winters we have had just two or three days of snow.”

John Law, of University of East Anglia-based service WeatherQuest, said temperatures were due to have dropped as low as -5C last night, particularly in the west of Suffolk.

“It was the coldest night we should see this week, but generally things are going to stay very cold,” he said.

“Today, even during the day temperatures will stay very low, struggling to reach 1C. In some places temperatures may even struggle to get above freezing but it will be a dry day with some sunshine.

“For Tuesday moving into Wednesday it will still be cold with a chance of sleet or snow towards Wednesday morning, not an awful lot but some wintry weather.

“Thursday and Friday are both dry days but there will be more cloud, mist and fog at night, temperatures will stay below freezing.

“The weekend will continue to see the same story, dry but cold.”

The plummeting temperatures have caused icy spots and hazardous conditions on the roads with forecasters and the police issuing warnings to motorists.

Mr Law added: “The other thing to think about after the wintry showers, it will be quite wet and no roads will have dried so there will be fairly widespread frost.

“People will need to take care when out on the roads with icy conditions again early this morning.”

A Suffolk police spokeswoman urged people to take care on the roads as the cold spell continues to cause dangerous conditions on the county's roads.

She said: “Drivers are urged to drive according to the weather conditions and take extra care when travelling during cold weather as roads may be icy.

“Only undertake necessary journeys if it is icy and keep an eye on the weather forecast.

“If you have to go out, take a fully charged mobile phone and emergency clothing and warm drinks.

“Make sure your vehicle is up to scratch, with well maintained lights and tyres and carry de-icer. “Importantly, don't drive until the windscreen is free from frost or mist.

“Allow more time for your journey with additional stops en route, as winter driving tends to be more demanding.

“And if there are poor weather conditions and visibility, remember to slow down and use dipped headlights.”

In north Essex, residents awoke to a dusting of snow on rooftops and cars.

Traffic moved slowly along the country's roads and trains were unable to stop at Colchester Town station due to a points failure between around 7am and 9.30am.

A Network Rail spokesman, however, said it was not clear if the failure had been due to the weather.

A spokeswoman for National Express East Anglia said: “We are sorry for any problems people faced as a result of this and we restored the service to normal as soon as possible.”