SNOW-COVERED Worcestershire will stay in the icy grip of the big freeze over Christmas say experts.

Road chiefs warned of more problems on the county’s highways with weather experts signalling overnight snow.

And with no thaw between now and Christmas day, people will have little choice but to grin and bear it.

Shoppers and many city workers made it to offices yesterday with the roads clearing after earlier snow flurries, although rail and bus services were still running reduced timetables.

But with up to 15cm (0.5ft) predicted in Worcester overnight and up to 25cm (0.8ft) on higher ground weather headaches look set to continue.

The gritters were set to plough the main roads through the night with fresh grit ready for today’s rush hour.

Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council road boss, said grit crews had managed to “catch-up” with road clearance by yesterday and refill many roadside grit bins.

Priority routes will be cleared first including A-roads, hospital and bus routes.

And he said the Christmas get away may be an easier prospect if there is no more snow between now and Christmas Day.

Temperatures will now stay below freezing into the weekend, but more heavy snow is unlikely according to your Worcester News weatherman Paul Damari.

“As we go through the week it’ll be bitterly cold, hard overnight frosts, freezing frog and down to -10C (14F) in some places,” he said.

“But it’ll be dry, although the snow cover will stay with us now.”

Despite the hardship, the great British public have been keeping the county out of the skids.

At Worcester Volunteer Centre in The Tything, Worcester, Sally Ellison said people getting the shopping for those who could not make it outdoors and ferrying people to their appointments.

Sally Ellison, centre chief officer, said: “We’ve got 25 volunteer car drivers and they’re coming in because they want to help.

“The snow has lost its novelty value now, we could do without more.”

Community-spirited people have been digging or pushing stricken drivers out of trouble including residents at Maytree Hill, Droitwich, who spent the weekend clearing snow off the incline.

But refuse collections have been hit in Worcester, with none yesterday.

However, residents are still asked to put out their black bins and the city council will collect when it can - log on to for any updates and advice.

In Wychavon, collections have been stopped until the next round in two weeks time.

In Malvern collections have happened where possible, with all residents being told their rubbish will be picked up eventually.

There was slightly less disruption on public transport than on Monday.

London Midland trains between Birmingham Snow Hill and Worcester Foregate Street were running at a reduced service.

Bus users were urged to check with bus operators directly before travelling, or to visit Worcestershire County Council’s website as services were reduced throughout the county.

Yesterday, there were delays on the M5 after a car broke down and a lane had to be closed on the slip road southbound at junction 7, Worcester.

Meanwhile, all hospital outpatient appointments were cancelled at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Kidderminster Hospital.

Members of the appointments team called patients to tell them about any cancellations.

If the team was not able to get in touch with a patient and they arrived at hospital they were seen by medical staff.

Patients were told they should attend planned treatments or operations if they could get to hospital safely.

A spokesman said yesterday: “We are aware that the forecast is for heavy snow and we will continue to monitor the situation."

Meanwhile, NHS Worcestershire, which manages the county’s five community hospitals including hospitals in Malvern, Pershore, Evesham and Tenbury Wells, worked with Worcestershire County Council and Gloucestershire and Worcestershire 4x4 response team.

A spokesman said the team, run by volunteers, were being used to get staff to vulnerable patients in rural parts of the county and to get staff to work.

She added: “The trust is very grateful to the volunteer 4x4 drivers who are helping us to maintain our critical services and we are grateful to our staff for the extraordinary efforts they have made (and are continuing to make) by working double shifts and extended hours to ensure our services are maintained.”

Meanwhile, the weather put paid to a planning meeting about proposals for a new Tesco store at Tenbury Wells The meeting will now go ahead at at Tenbury High School at 6pm on Wednesday, January 5.

Householders were reminded to ensure heaters and boilers were properly serviced and to consider fitting carbon monoxide detectors in their home.

With the cold weather continuing, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service have urged people to get the detectors fitted.

Firefighters have warned residents to insulate their pipes during the freezing weather.

City fire crews had to isolate the electrics at two homes between Monday and yesterday, after the cold weather split caused water pipes to split and leak.

Community safety manager Grant Wills said: "It is important householders properly lag their home’s pipes to prevent freezing.

“This is particularly important if you’re leaving your home unoccupied over Christmas.”

Meanwhile, Evesham police have been out and about checking on the elderly and vulnerable and helping them with any important everyday tasks.

They have done everything from clearing paths and driveways to collecting milk, food and prescriptions.

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