Met Office upgrades severe weather warning in Gloucestershire as 'worst snow in years' forecast

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By Bodger21 | Thursday, January 17, 2013, 21:51

School closures and panic buying at the pumps - and it hasn't really snowed yet.

Despite the fact that the county has witnessed just a slight flurry so far, the Met Office's stark warning of "the worst snow in years" has caused eight schools to pronounce themselves closed ahead of the heavy snowfall forecast overnight and concerned motorists to queue at petrol pumps.

Cheltenham schools, Battledown Centre for Children and Families and Belmont School, Birdlip Primary School, Hartpury College, Rodmarton School near Cirencester, St Peter's Catholic Primary, High School and Sixth Form College in Gloucester and The Shrubberies School in Stonehouse - all have declared themselves closed "due to the forecast snow and likely impact on access routes and transport".

St Peter's will remain open to students scheduled to take exams, however.

No doubt the number of school closures will have risen significantly by the morning, should the forecast prove accurate.

Motorists expecting to venture out tomorrow have been advised to rethink how vital their journeys really are in light of the Met Office's amber warning currently in place.

Due to hit at 3am, and expected to be at its worst between 6am and 9am, forecasters predict approximately 12cm (4in) of snowfall, compounded by high winds causing drifting and blizzard conditions.

Stroudwater gritting depot has deployed 34 gritters across the county this evening, and says that it will continue to treat the county's roads throughout the night. Should snowfall become deep enought it also plans to commence ploughing in an attempt to make the roads as safe as possible for commuters in the morning.

The Met Office predicts that winds will strengthen and blizzard conditions are likely, especially over high ground.

Following a forecast 12 hours of snowfall, the band of wintry weather will slowly weaken through Saturday morning.

During the evening, however, ice will form in many areas where there is snow cover, lasting into Sunday morning.

* To keep updated on the latest forecasts and weather news, log on to the Quedgeley People weather channel and Met Office website

* For the latest news on school closures, parents are advised to visit Gloucestershire County Council's emergency school closure list.

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