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Householders wake up to arctic conditions as ice, snow and wind strikes county
HOUSEHOLDERS woke up to ice, snow and bitterly cold winds yesterday after soaring temperatures last week.
Winter returned with a vengeance as snow fell across the county in the early hours with biting winds from the north at speeds of up to 47mph.
Motorists were warned to drive carefully last night and this morning as overnight temperatures were forecast to drop below freezing.
Last Tuesday, Weymouth residents were enj-joying some spring sunshine, with temperatures climbing to 16C.
Local weather expert Mark Ching said the cold snap came from Scandinavia.
He said: “It’s a bit unusual to have snow in March, especially in Weymouth.
“There was about 1cm on the coast and probably about 2cm or 3cm further inland yesterday morning.
“We’ve had snow in March within the last five or six years but what’s more unusual is how cold it is.”
Mr Ching added: “Bitterly cold air came down from Scandinavia and met low pressure coming through the Channel which is a classic recipe for snow. We got off quite lightly.
“If the pressure front had been a bit further north we would have got about six inches of snow rather than a dusting.”
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning and predicted maximum temperatures of 2C and snow showers throughout the day.
Drivers faced poor visibility and icy conditions on Dorset’s roads Condor Ferries said high-speed crossings between Poole and Guernsey were cancelled due to bad weather.
Mr Ching said: “Last March we had lovely warm weather but the depth of the cold yesterday was unusual.
“It was only just above freezing, which is unusual.
“This is classic spring weather, one step towards summer and two back towards winter.
“Winter just keeps on coming back and biting us in the behind.”
Schools were open as usual, according to Dorset County Council and gritting lorries were out in force.
Travellers faced queues on busy routes and poor visibility – particularly on White Horse Hill at Osmington yesterday morning.
There was also an oil spill which caused delays on the A353 between Warmwell and Osmington.
Some buses were delayed, although nearly all services, and trains, were running.
Gusts of up to 47mph have made temperatures feel as cold as -9C.
Police traffic safety advice
DORSET Police issued safety advice for motorists in icy conditions.
They say people should ensure their vehicle is roadworthy for the conditions by checking tyres, windscreen washers and wipers, lights, petrol and heater.
Other advice includes ensuring any snow or ice is cleared from your windscreen and other windows before setting off, drive with extreme caution – even if the roads appear gritted, keep speed down, avoid harsh acceleration or braking and keep a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front.
Do not rush, allow plenty of time for your journey, always wear a seatbelt and do not be distracted by mobile phones. If weather conditions are very bad, only travel when necessary.