Thaw to set in this weekend

By Gary Smee Thursday 24 January 2013 Updated: 28/01 12:45

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Buy photos » Rob Davidson and daughter Xanthe, six, pick up the pace on their sledge. 0413005MMR2

A WEEK of disruption for some and joy for others looks set to end this weekend as rising temperatures bring about the big thaw.

Heavy snowfall last Friday (January 18) led to severe problems in the Vale with majority of schools closing for the day and transport networks seriously affected.

Freezing temperatures and further flurries throughout the week ensured conditions remained treacherous on some of the higher routes and minor roads but the majority of schools were unaffected as the worst of the conditions moved further north.

Gritters from Worcestershire County Council worked around the clock to ensure major routes were kept moving and grit bins were kept fully stocked.

Coun John Smith, responsible for highways and transport, said he was pleased with how smoothly things had gone.

"As always, the gritting teams have done a fantastic job since the snow came and temperatures dropped," he said.

"I'm sure this will continue. There's been lots of positive comments coming through from the public and I'd like to say a big thank-you to everyone involved for their tireless efforts. We do really appreciate it.

"I know the crews won't be getting complacent and I'd like to urge motorists to continue to take care. With more snow and freezing weather on the way there remains a constant risk. Please take things steady, remain cautious and stay safe.

"Teams will be doing all they can but, as we've said many times before, grit isn't a miracle fix. It's never safe to assume you can travel at normal speeds, especially during severe cold weather, even if you believe a road has been treated with salt."

The freezing weather could have one last sting in its tail today (Friday) with forecasters unsure whether or not a heavy band of rain moving in from the Atlantic will fall as snow, but by Sunday temperatures were set to rise to ten degrees Celsius meaning a rapid thaw will set in.

But this could lead to more problems with the ground still saturated and any snow melt could cause flooding problems. The Met Office has also issued a Yellow Weather Warning for heavy rain on Sunday (January 27).

To keep up to date with the latest weather warnings log onto www.metoffice.gov.uk.

Observer photographer Marcus Mingins was out and about in the Vale to capture the snowy scenes.

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