Warnings ahead of heavy snow and plunging temperatures in County Durham and North Yorkshire

The Northern Echo: Dog walkers in The Bishop's Park, Bishop Auckland. Dog walkers in The Bishop's Park, Bishop Auckland.

MOTORISTS and pedestrians have been warned to expect icy roads and pavements ahead of heavy snow showers and temperatures dipping to -8C.

The Met Office issued amber warnings asking people to "be prepared" for snow to remain in place in north-east and North Yorkshire at the start of what forecasters say will be a bitterly cold week.

Temperatures remained around freezing today (Monday, January 14), with highs of 0.3C in Topcliffe, near Thirsk, 1C in Durham and 2C in Ravensworth, near Richmond and Teesside.

A Met Office spokeswoman predicted up to 10cm of snow across the region overnight and that more would fall until late afternoon today (Tuesday, January 15). Thermometers will remain around the freezing point all day.

She said temperatures could fall to -8C tomorrow (Tuesday, January 15) before dry, but cold days on Wednesday and Thursday.

A North Yorkshire County Council spokeswoman there had not been any school closures following the snow, but its fleet of gritters was running at full strength last night.

Darron Burness, the AA’s Head of Special Operations, said drivers should prepare for difficult journeys.

“We’ve had a busy morning across the country with the snow and freezing temperatures causing a range of problems, particularly flat batteries and accidents," he said. "We’ve seen a few people get stuck in snow and others stuck on soft verges after pulling over or skidding off.

“Stopping distances increase significantly on snow and ice so keep your speed down and take extra care, even on gritted main roads.”

Conditions led to the closure of 12 schools in County Durham, mostly in the north-west of the county. All are due to re-open tomorrow. (Tuesday, January 15).

The Brooms Dene waste site at Stony Heap, Leadgate, near Consett, was closed due to the weather.

Police in the county reported that there had been a few road accidents during the day.

On the B6309 at Ebchester Hill, near Consett, hazardous driving conditions were between the A694 junction in Ebchester and the A692 junction in Leadgate, because of ice and snow.

Bus operator Go North East reported that most of its services were running normally, but some were following diversions because of weather-related problems.

Arriva North East reported delays on some routes.

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