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'Blue Monday' hits as experts predict big freeze will last until Saturday

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 21, 2013

  • WILL IT GET ANY OTTER? North American river otters mum Flo and daughter Mini at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Inset; mammal manager John Crooks

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ICE warnings have been issued for today and the cold weather now looks set to last until at least Saturday.

The Met Office says temperatures will not go above freezing today and will plunge as low as -7C tomorrow night.

Today is known as Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year – due to poor weather conditions, low motivation and time elapsed since Christmas.

The whiteout meant many people struggled to leave home over the weekend and heavy snow hit Littledean in the Forest of Dean again yesterday.

Schools in the area are also battling the conditions.

St White's School in Cinderford will remain closed today as will St John's CofE Primary School in Coleford and Sheepscombe School in Stroud.

Other schools in the Forest will open late so staff have time to clear the snow and ice.

Those who did venture out over the weekend enjoyed playing in the snow, creating sculptures and snapping some of the winter scenes.

Others turned their hand to helping ease the situation for others.

Over in Tuffley, a team of 20 volunteers have been out salting the roads.

Ward councillor Gerald Dee said: "People have been looking after their neighbours here.

"There are no shops really nearby for the elderly so it is difficult.

"If you or someone you know is in difficulty please do get in touch with a councillor."

Interim director of adult services from Gloucestershire Care Services Susan Field said it was continuing to use 4x4 vehicles to reach those in need of help.

She added: "It's especially important to be a good neighbour in this weather, and to look out for the needs of others who may be vulnerable and will value extra support."

Gloucestershire Highways said most of the road network is now passable but it is continuing to treat key routes and secondary roads as icy patches remain a concern.

Area highways manager John Kay said: "We would still urge residents to take care when travelling, especially on higher ground."

Stagecoach services are still being affected and people should check its website for updates.

Generally, police said the weather meant a quiet weekend on the roads and around nightspots.

But officers in Gloucester city centre had to issue three warnings to people throwing snowballs off the top of car parks.

In the Stroud area, Maidenhill Sports and Dance Centre in Stonehouse, Thomas Keble Sports Centre at Eastcombe and Wotton-under-Edge Sports Centre were all shut over the weekend, as was The Museum in the Park in Stroud.

A performance by the Blossom Street Singers at Stroud Subscription Rooms also had to be postponed on Saturday.

But in Dursley, the swimming pool was open as normal.

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