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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007, 19:18 GMT
Snow affects schools and travel
Redhouse Park, Great Barr

Heavy snow in the West Midlands closed more than 1,000 schools and left commuters dealing with treacherous driving conditions.

Gritters were out in force after snow covered much of the region. Many A-roads were closed and police received numerous calls from drivers in trouble.

The Highways Agency is warning people to allow extra journey time as ice patches and freezing fog develop.

Council-run schools in Worcestershire and Birmingham will be shut on Friday.

All council-run schools in Birmingham, Solihull and Dudley were closed on Thursday.

About 730 schools in the West Midlands did not open for lessons in Birmingham and the Black Country.

More than 200 schools were shut by Warwickshire County Council, which texted parents to tell them of the closures.

Created by stone masons at Hereford Cathedral
A snowman created by stone masons at Hereford Cathedral

About 300 schools in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, nearly 100 in Staffordshire and Cheshire, and 60 in Shropshire were also closed.

West Mercia police urged people only to travel if necessary as forecasters said temperatures will dip to -5 degrees Celsius (23F) overnight on Thursday.

Many roads have only been passable with care and there were severe problems in many towns including, Upton upon Severn, Pershore and Kidderminster.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has been called to many accidents across Herefordshire and Worcestershire with two men taken to hospital after one collision.

A spokesman said people should only dial 999 in an emergency.

Refuse collections were cancelled in Walsall because of safety concerns, affecting 20,000 homes, and collections were also cancelled in south Shropshire and Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.

Ironbridge, Shropshire
Ironbridge in Shropshire was blanketed in snow

Birmingham International Airport initially closed its runway because of the freezing conditions but it reopened later on Thursday.

The outside lanes of the M40 and M5 motorways were also reported to be unusable.

Virgin Trains and Chiltern Railways cancelled some services between the Midlands and London, Manchester and Liverpool although some services were unaffected.

Network Rail said passengers should check if services are running before setting off.

People are asked to listen to their local radio stations for the latest information.


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