Heavy snow leads to road problems in Suffolk and Essex
- Credit: Archant
Snow started to fall across Suffolk and Essex today which led to widespread travel disruption.
The Met Office issued a yellow warning for snow from 4am today until 11.55pm, and those predictions were proved right.
Snow was falling in the west of Suffolk at 5.30am. It turned to rain by 7am but by 9am it was falling heavily but had stopped by 12.30pm. It started to fall in Ipswich at around 9.30am.
Roads around Suffolk quickly became treacherous and motorists were advised by police to delay any non-essential journeys.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said they had not had any reports of major incidents but there had been a series of minor shunts where drivers were exchanging details.
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“But we have had nothing of a serious nature so far,” he said.
There were reports of problems on the A12 with traffic struggling on the Suffolk Essex border at Dedham.
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A lorry was also finding difficulties on the westbound carriageway of the A14 on the Orwell Bridge which had to be closed for a short while and some of the roads in Ipswich with inclines including Fonnereau Road, Cambridge Road, Bishop’s Hill and Wherstead Road were also becoming difficult to negotiate.
“But people are heeding advice and those who had plans to go out look as if they have decided not to,” he added.
Much of the A12 was hit by delays as traffic came to a standstill.
They included delays of six minutes on Grove Road, northbound, between Kennels Road and Hasketon Road, in Woodbridge; severe delays of 23 minutes between London Road and Hughes Road, in East Bergholt; and at the Copdock interchange.
The A14 westbound between junction 57 Nacton Road and J55 the A12 was also hit as was the Ipswich bypass near Ipswich Hospital and further along at Yarmouth Road.
The Essex Weather Centre said that conditions were deteriorating quickly as the transition from rain to snow began.
The Northern Approach Road, in Colchester, was almost impossible to negotiate while in Mile End Road men were helping to push cars up the road.
In Braintree the Freeport centre had closed for the day because of the weather while roads in the area and along the A120 had also been closed.
A spokesman at Freeport said: “Yes, we have closed for the day becaase of the inclement weather. The roads are terrible and we are advising people not to travel to the centre.”
Stansted Airport closed while staff worked on clearing the runway of snow and ice but was opened at 12.30pm.
Suffolk Highways said they would be gritting priority 1 routes from 11.30am today and told motorists to stay safe and drive to the conditions.
While in Haverhill police said it was becoming difficult for their police cars to respond to incidents because of the state of the roads.
Jane Storey, the deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “The gritters went out at 11.30am from our depots in Bury St Edmunds, Halesworth and Ipswich.
“They have been challenging conditions for us but not a severe weather event and it is now slowly clearing but we could potentially end up with black ice later today.”
There were no reports of any problems with the train services in the area because of the weather.
The Met Office said up to nearly four inches could fall in places within the warning area, with nearly eight inches possible in a few places on higher ground.
The snowfall could cause road, rail and air disruption and forecasters warned there is potential for vehicles to become stranded or public transport cancelled.
The forecast for today is cloudy with periods of snow inland, rain near the coast, turning heavy in places with significant snow accumulations further west.
Rain and snow will tend to ease later from the north but it was set to be very cold with the temperature staying near freezing in places.
Tonight is set to be cloudy and bitterly cold with further, mainly light, sleet or snow showers, though many parts will have a dry night.
There is set to be a widespread sharp frost with areas of hazardous ice.
The Met Office said: “A spell of snow is expected over a central swathe of the UK on Sunday.
“This snow starts to develop during the early hours of Sunday with the heaviest and most persistent snow then likely during Sunday morning.
“Within the warning area, 1-5cm of snow is possible quite widely with up to 10cm in places. Over higher ground, 20cm is possible in a few places.”
Highways England is urging motorists to drive to the conditions and ensure vehicles are winter ready.
It tweeted: “Snow is forecast so we ask motorists to please drive to the conditions.
“Prepare for any eventuality ensuring your vehicle is winter ready and making sure you have warm clothing, food, drink, required medication, boots, shovel and a torch.”
If you have any photos of the snow today email them to firstname.lastname@example.org