Snow heading for Norwich, say forecasters
Arctic blasts are set to hit Norwich this week, with snow predicted just as the city gets ready for the East Anglian football derby and the half marathon.
Bitterly cold weather is forecast across Britain and, while Norfolk is unlikely to be hit as badly as some parts of the country, forecasters say snow at the weekend looks likely.
The heaviest snowfalls are likely to be seen in north-east Scotland, but the east coast, including Norfolk, looks set for a covering of flakes.
And that will mean football fans at Sunday's derby day clash between Norwich and Ipswich will need to wrap up warm, while a chilly challenge awaits those taking part in the City of Norwich Half Marathon on the same day.
John Law, from University of East Anglia-based forecasters Weatherquest, said: 'We are not going to get the heaviest snowfall, but we are going to get snow.
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'Temperatures are going to be dropping away and over the next few nights they will dip below freezing. We are going to be looking at some sharp frosts and in the day time it might struggle to get much above 3 to 4 degrees centigrade in the daytime.
'For Thursday we are still looking at rain showers coming in from the east and then it will become sleet and hail. For Friday, Saturday and Sunday we are looking at a covering of snow.'
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Last winter, Norfolk County Council spent nearly �5m treating A and B roads with 28,000 tonnes of grit, in a bid to ensure that major routes and at least one access road remained open into each community.
Bosses at County Hall said they were bracing themselves for the wintry weather and teams of gritters were on standby.
John Birchall, spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: 'This winter we have got an extra 4,000 tonnes of salt into our reserves.
'We have seven salt domes around the county and, through our PFI agreement, we require them to be stocked to at least minimum levels.
'We have been out gritting already this winter, but we are bracing ourselves for the weekend ahead.
'It is always hard to now what will arrive. Being where we are, sometimes Norfolk misses out when the rest of the country gets it worse than us, but sometimes we get it when elsewhere doesn't. We'll have to wait and see.'
Fourteen extra grit bins have been put in place in Norwich this winter, after a spate of requests following last winter's harsh weather.
With some people afraid to clear paths of snow last winter because of fears of legal action if somebody subsequently slipped over, council bosses have pointed to government guidance which says clearing snow responsibly will not lead to people being sued.
• In the event of schools being closed by snow, details of closures will be posted on Norfolk County Council's website at www.norfolk.gov.uk