By Ian Dipple Friday 18 January 2013 Updated: 18/01 17:35
GRITTING crews will continue to work around the clock to get Redditch moving after a day of heavy snowfall which has brought disruption across the borough.
Up to 8cm of snow has fallen so far. Although the intensity of the showers is expected to ease from 4pm, it is still possible between another 2cm and 5cm could fall up until midnight, with another 8cm on higher ground.
Crews were out treating designated routes with salt from 2pm on Thursday and have been ploughing since the early hours of Friday morning.
Temperatures will dip as low as minus three tonight (Friday). Saturday and Sunday will be drier with some lighter snow showers possible but temperatures will remain sub-zero.
Motorists are being warned road conditions remain 'very difficult'. Many of the main carriageways around the borough have been reduced to one lane only and drivers struggled to get above 30mph on the Bromsgrove Highway on Friday morning,
By the end of tomorrow (Saturday) gritting crews will have covered the equivalent distance of travelling from Redditch to the North Pole and back.
Jon Fraser, county council highways customer and community manager, said: "Gritting crews haven't really stopped now for 24 hours. As one shift ends, another one starts. We are doing everything we can to treat and clear roads whilst we are in the grips of this bout of heavy snow.
"It looks like the snow is going to be here until around midnight tonight. The teams will be out and about continuing their work until at least the early hours. Forecasts suggest things will get drier over the weekend but not warmer, so we'll certianly be busy over the next few days.
"We'd urge anyone making journeys to please take care. Grit can only do so much, especially during extreme weather currently being experienced. Even when a road seems clear it's not safe to assume you can travel at normal speeds."
A total of 30 schools in and around Redditch were closed as a result of the severe weather while others such as Trinity High School, Kingsley College and St Augustine's Catholic High School were open only to students taking exams.
Bin collections were started on Friday morning but abandoned at 11.30am due to worsening conditions.
Some bins have been collected and those which have not will be collected next week. Bins which have been missed should be put outside on Monday (January 21) and left in a safe place.
A spokeswoman said: "If we are unable to collect your bin we will return as soon as possible so please leave your bin out a safe place.
"Refuse vehicles can weigh up to 26 tonnes and are much bigger than most household delivery vehicles, it is essential that we do not drive on roads when drivers make a judgement that it is not safe to do so.
"We would like to apologise for the disruption to waste collection services due to the poor weather."
One Stop Shops at Woodrow and the Town Hall closed in the afternoon and the market in Redditch Town Centre was called off.
Postal deliveries were also cancelled on Friday.
Most buses and trains are currently running to a normal timetable. A Diamond spokeswoman said they would continue to run services for as long as possible. Updates will be available on the company's Facebook and Twitter as well as the Standard's website.
The 182 and 183 between Bromsgrove, Lickey and Redditch, was withdrawn on Friday, and the 350 from Redditch to Worcester via Inkberrow was also cancelled. The X3 did not run to Redditch while the X50 between Redditch, Wythall and Birmingham is running direct via the A435 but is not stopping at villages inbetween.
The Worcestershire Hub Contact Centre was open at 6.30am to answer residents' queries about county council services and will open as usual from 9am to 5pm tomorrow (Saturday).
All day services have been closed for the day, with staff informing service users and families of the decision, and the Medical Education Team Unit on Easemore Road has also been shut.
Businesses have also been left counting the cost as many sent staff home early as conditions worsened while the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and town centre was unusually quiet as residents heeded warnings to stay indoors.
Supermarkets have also urged people not to panic buy as deliveries are getting through. It followed a surge in demand on Thursday which saw trade similar to the days leading up to Christmas and shelves stripped of bread, milk and other essentials.
Forecasters say the snow and cold weather is likely to continue into next week.
The warning level from the Met Office will drop from amber to yellow on Saturday - meaning residents should be prepared for bad weather - and snow showers are likely to fall until around 12pm. No snow is expected tomorrow afternoon although temperatures are set to remain at minus one in the afternoon and minus two as darkness falls.
The yellow warning will stay in place until lunchtime on Sunday and more snow is expected to fall from around 3pm.
There is a further chance of snow on Monday and Tuesday.
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