08:00 Tuesday 15 January 2013

Winter wonderland . . . but blink and you missed it

Written byBY ADRIAN JENKINS

A WHITE cloak enveloped Burton and South Derbyshire as the first snow of 2013 fell after nightfall.

As the flakes settled, the landscape was transformed into one of picture postcard beauty, a winter wonderland defying any hint of climate change.

Shivering drivers were forced to lift the carpet from their windscreens before braving a Monday morning slip and slide to work.

And then, suddenly, the virginal veil lifted almost as quickly as it had arrived, with rising temperatures turning the snow to mush.

Flakes fell again but this time failed to gain their predecessors’ traction.

But the threat of snow still hung in the sky, prompting the Highways Agency to warn motorists to be on their guard.

They spoke as the Met Office said a second band of rain, sleet and snow was affecting the west on higher ground, with snow likely at lower levels as it moved east.

The East Midlands, including Swadlincote, was put on severe weather alert, with snow accumulations of between 2cm and 15cm expected.

Forecasters said it was expected to clear this morning, though temperatures would still be low.

Motorists were urged to check travelling conditions and ensure they were prepared if venturing out.

Ambulance chiefs, meanwhile, urged everyone ‘to be extra careful and not take risks’.

They urged the elderly to heat their homes and eat hot meals, while encouraging people to check on elderly neighbours and help them if necessary.

Pet owners were also advised to think of their animals as the mercury plunged.

The Dogs Trust reminded owners to keep their pets safe, keeping them on leads during heavy snow and stopping them from walking on frozen ponds.

After weeks of flood threat, the snow had finally brought challenges of its own.

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