WINTER well and truly arrived in Uttoxeter this week as heavy snowfall closed schools and caused chaos on the roads.
Even major routes resembled ice rinks as an estimated four inches of snow throughout Friday – combined with sub-zero temperatures – left motorists facing treacherous conditions.
Around 20 schools had to shut their doors as conditions worsened during Friday.
Pupils and staff were sent home from schools including Thomas Alleyne’s High School, but head teacher Suzanne O’Farrell told the Advertiser exams at the school had not been affected.
She said: “All external exams including GCSE module exams and A-level module exams have taken place uninterrupted.
“On Friday we had to close early and the last students left at 2pm. We had two A-level exams in the afternoon and we liaised with students to ensure they were able to get home safely at the end of the afternoon exam.
“On Monday the school opened as normal and all exams took place. Our site team had done an excellent job in ensuring pathways were safe around the school.
“We had a small number of staff who failed to get in on Monday who live in the Staffordshire Moorlands – however other staff took their classes and all lessons took place as normal. We are looking forward to the end of the snow!”
Roads across the area became extremely treacherous and bus services were severely affected.
On Friday the 428 service from Uttoxeter to Lichfield had to stay on main roads and had to avoid Westlands Roads completely due to ‘safety concerns’.
Isolated rural areas, such as Dapple Heath and The Blythe, and even Bramshall, were left unserved by buses due to the dangerous road conditions.
A spokesman for the bus company Arriva told the Advertiser yesterday that the 841 Uttoxeter to Stafford service was now calling at Bramshall again.
However, he said drivers were still having difficulties on its service 4 town circular route due to ‘road surfaces not being treated’ and were having to be diverted.
Over the past week, Staffordshire County Council said it has used more than 5,000 tonnes of salt.
County council highways chief Mike Maryon said: “Our dedicated highways teams have been working round the clock and their dedication has meant that they’ve been able to keep disruptions, caused by severe conditions under control.
“I would urge people to plan their journeys, check our website for traffic updates and stay vigilant.”
The snow and freezing temperatures continued over the weekend, with the area’s sporting calendar being wiped out.
Rocester FC’s crunch FA Vase tie against Runcorn Town had to be postponed on Saturday and there were no games in the Uttoxeter and District Sunday League.
Monday saw more schools closed, but yesterday some normality was restored with no school closures reported across the Uttoxeter area.