Day of snow and ice brings closures and delays (and good fun) to Shropshire
The first major snowfall of the year caused disruption across the county, with schools closed, services disrupted and events cancelled.
As Salopians rose from their beds on Thursday morning and peered outside their windows, they were met with blankets of fresh snowfall.
But despite the picture-perfect scene, motorists faced driving chaos amid the freezing temperatures – and some bus links had to be temporarily suspended.
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow on Wednesday, with the first flakes starting to fall in areas including Telford and Shrewsbury.
Now, the entire county and its surrounding areas have been feeling the full effect of the snow and ice, which is expected to last until Friday afternoon.
Snow was several inches thick in some parts of the county, which gave many primary and secondary schoolchildren a day at home - or out in the snow.
Grange Park Primary School in Telford, Holy Trinity Academy in Priorslee, Oldbury Wells in Bridgnorth, Minsterley CE Primary School in Shrewsbury and Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere, were among the several schools forced to close.
At St Martins School in Oswestry, which remained open, pupils could be seen having fun in the snow.
Headteacher Sue Lovecy said she had been keen to keep St Martins School open on Thursday: "Sometimes it is hard for staff to travel and we understand that.
"However we are a village school and many of our pupils walk to school. We wanted to do everything we could to stay open. Students have had great fun enjoying the snow."
In some parts of the county, the weather conditions meant sledging, throwing snowballs and building snowmen were all possible, with people wrapping up in their winter coats to enjoy the day.
But for people trying to run errands or get to work, the weather conditions caused havoc, which prompted a safety call-out from West Mercia Police.
A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: "Snow, ice and rain over the next few days will make travel conditions difficult. Whether on wheels or on foot, take extra care – even on roads and paths which have been treated.
"Motorists, reduce your speed, keep well back from the vehicle in front and allow plenty of time to slow down."
West Mercia Police also issued a reminder to people not to leave their vehicle when de-icing their car on cold mornings.
PCSO Stephen Dunn-Brown said: "Although vehicle crime is low across West Mercia, every winter the force receives a number of reports from drivers who have had their cars stolen after leaving the engine running, while they wait in the warmth of their home for it to heat up and defrost the windscreen.
"Many of the vehicles are never recovered, and some – especially high value models such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi – may be shipped overseas.
"So, don’t give criminals an easy ride by leaving your car running unattended."
West Midlands Ambulance Service also issued a reminder to people to only travel if they have to and to stay on major roads as much as possible.
Shaunna Farley, communications officer at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “With many parts of the West Midlands having seen heavy snowfall this morning please ensure you take additional precautions when driving, leave extra time for your journey and only travel if necessary.
"Also, please take time to check in on elderly neighbours or relatives who might be vulnerable to the cold weather.
"The Met Office have issued a Cold Weather Alert across the region, please visit their website for further information and advice.”
Vehicles have also been caught on "impassable" roads, causing traffic gridlock in some areas.
The steep road from Ironbridge to Madeley (Madeley Bank) had been causing problems, with lots of people getting stuck.
Shropshire Council said the gritting team at contractors Kier had been out five times in 48 hours to ensure that primary and secondary routes had been covered. More than 600 tonnes of salt had been used across the network.
Telford & Wrekin Council's team were up bright and early gritting the roads at 4.30am, covering 400 kilometres and using 180 tonnes of grit.
Meanwhile, a number of Shropshire's bus services had been affected by the county's bad weather, with delays and temporary suspensions.
The Arriva Midlands 436 service from Bridgnorth to Shrewsbury was unable to serve Barrow Street, Much Wenlock and the village of Harley due to heavy snow on the roads.
Many Minsterley Motors services were suspended for the day, including the 435 from Shrewsbury to Ludlow, the 745 from Pontesbury to Ludlow and the 738 from Knighton to Ludlow.
All Tanat Valley Coaches services were suspended for the day, as well as the community car services.
The Heart of Wales train line was 'severely disrupted' due to multiple incidents relating to poor weather conditions.
There were also cancellations to services between Knighton and Shrewsbury due to a train hitting tree branches on the line which were laden with snow, which meant some lines had become blocked.
Library closures were also in place across Shropshire in Church Stretton, Much Wenlock, Gobowen and the library delivery van and mobile libraries were not running.
Across the country, The Met Office's yellow weather warning will remain in place until 2pm on Friday.
The warning states: "An area of low pressure will move across the UK on Thursday and Friday with snow developing across Wales and central England early on Thursday morning.
"This is expected to move slowly north during the day, becoming slow-moving across north Wales, northern England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland during the afternoon and evening before slowly clearing southeast on Friday.
"Snow will likely turn to sleet or rain at times at lower elevations, especially in the south of the warning area, as well as near eastern coasts.
"At low levels including major cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle accumulations are expected to be limited with a small chance of 2-5 cm falling.
"However, significant snow accumulations are possible over hills of northern England (including populated areas of South and West Yorkshire), Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.
"Here, 10-15 cm is expected quite widely above 100 metres, with a chance that 25 to 40cm could fall in some places."