Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Low temperatures prompt ice alert

Ice warning
Stocks of salt are running low, officials have admitted

Freezing overnight temperatures have led to dangerously icy conditions in the East Midlands, drivers have been warned.

A severe weather warning is in place for the region, with widespread ice expected on untreated surfaces.

Almost 130 schools in the East Midlands remained closed on Friday with more closing early as weather worsened.

Police said a number of vehicles had become stuck on the A16 in Lincolnshire after heavy snowfalls.

They added drivers on the A15 in Morton near Bourne were experiencing blizzard conditions.

In Nottinghamshire, 47 schools were closed, 30 in Lincolnshire, 25 in Derbyshire and 26 in Leicestershire.

Councils said they were doing all they could but demand for salt was likely to outstrip supply.

The Met Office said problems could be particularly difficult in areas where snow had partially thawed during the previous day.

It is really Friday and Saturday night which looks even worse
Daryl Redford, Lincolnshire County Council

In Leicestershire, the county council said 250,000 had already been spent on grit for the roads.

Two thousand tonnes of salt ordered two days ago was beginning to arrive, a spokesman added, and 150 staff have been re-deployed to work on the gritting operation.

Several schools in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire have already said they would not open on Friday.

Public transport and local airports had also been affected on Thursday after 4ins (10cm) of snow fell.

Difficult times

Daryl Redford, from Lincolnshire County Council's highways department, said his team were facing a difficult few days.

"Any moisture on the roads will make things tricky but the gritters are prepared to go out.

"But it is really Friday and Saturday night which looks even worse because we are going to get down to -8C, we are told."

Ian Duff, from Nottinghamshire County Council, admitted that after five days of round the clock gritting, stocks were under pressure.

"It is a question of prioritising," he said. "There is a shortage nationally, clearly. We have had one of the worst winters for many, many years.

"But we are liaising with other authorities to make sure we are managing the situation as best we can."

Derby City Council said it had enough supplies for two to three days but may start having to cut back after that.

People can visit the local BBC Leicester, Derby, Nottingham, or Lincolnshire websites to check the latest situation with schools and find out more information about dealing with the weather.



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