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Traffic gridlock on roads as heaviest April snow in 32 years hits Huddersfield

IT was Gridlock Day as snow brought chaos to Huddersfield.

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IT was Gridlock Day as snow brought chaos to Huddersfield.

Motorways were jammed and main roads were closed for several hours despite Kirklees Councils best efforts in gritting 60% of the network.

As the morning rush-hour crawled by, lorries snarled up and vehicles broke down, blocking paths and forcing motorists to endure long delays.

Many people stayed at home for the day with roads blocked by several inches of snow.

Kirklees Council closed several roads around Huddersfield including the A6024 Holme Moss, A629 Penistone Road, A635 Greenfield Road, Holmfirth and A640 New Hey Road.

The M62, which is the responsibility of the Highways Agency, was also badly disrupted but did stay open.

At one point, police reported 13-mile tailbacks on the Pennine stretch above Huddersfield with two of the lanes closed because of blizzard conditions.

Kirklees Councils head of highways Mark Dobson told the Examiner: Policy is that we grit priority routes, which is 60% of the network. Once we have done this we move on to the rest of the network.

We have had continuous snow throughout the rush-hour period and beyond which has forced more traffic on to main routes.

Asked if they had done enough he replied: The difficulty is we rely on the Met Office predictions.

It may have been in some areas that there has been wash-off due to heavy rain.

He said night patrols were out on the tops and at the first sight of snow at 3.45am in North Kirklees, the information was filtered back to the fleet to get them back on the road.

Teams were also out in Huddersfield town centre and Dewsbury town centre gritting roads and pavements by hand.

One of numerous hold-ups was in Halifax Road in Huddersfield as traffic queued back to the motorway at Ainley Top.

In Lindley Moor Road, a lorry slipped on a slight hill near the Wappy Springs pub and blocked the road, causing police to divert traffic to surrounding routes.

Motorists on the M62 eastbound were held up for more than an hour after two vehicles broke down, blocking two lanes between Rishworth Moor (junction 22) and Ainley Top (junction 24).

Traffic on the A62 into Huddersfield also queued following flooding at Cooper Bridge Road.

A lorry jack-knifed between Meltham and Netherton, causing buses and other traffic to be diverted.

Later in the day, the West Yorkshire Police helicopter patrolled the skies above the M62 to monitor traffic conditions as the lanes remained congested between Rishworth Moor and junction 27 at Gildersome.

No serious accidents were reported.

Meanwhile train passengers travelling between Huddersfield and Manchester Victoria were delayed until 10am because of signalling failures between Marsden and Greenfield.

Bus services across the Huddersfield area were also badly disrupted

Buses were gridlocked in Denby Dale for most of the day and services in Highburton, Gomersal and Emley were halted.

A spokesman for Metro, which operates the bus network, reported services were gradually brought back to normal by mid-afternoon yesterday.

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BLIZZARDS brought Huddersfields heaviest April snow for 32 years.

The town was hit by the worst April weather since 1980 as several inches of snow fell in many areas, bringing chaos on the roads.

At Outlane, Huddersfield meteorologist Paul Stevens recorded an astonishing 26cm of snow by 9am yesterday.

And there were reports of drifts of up to 50cm at Holme Moss, where roads were shut because of the treacherous conditions.

And although the snow stopped later in the day and was expected to disappear in most areas by the Easter break, Paul did have a warning.

There is a chance of more on the way later over the Easter weekend.

It looks as if it could well turn much colder over Sunday into Monday and there is another low pressure system moving in from the east which could bring more snow.

The snow began to fall in parts of Huddersfield at about 9pm on Tuesday but the heavy falls began after midnight and especially from 2.30am onwards.

By 5am there were severe falls in many areas and people woke to find roads blocked.

Paul said: It is as we forecast, although it has probably come a little heavier than many of us expected.

I know it has caused a lot of problems for drivers on many roads, including the M62 and all the main roads leading to it.

Records show it is the heaviest snowfall in Huddersfield at any time since December 2009 and the heaviest we have had in April since 1980.

That was the year we had heavy snow towards the end of the month.

We have not had such a heavy and deep snowfall for some considerable time.

There was 18cm here at Salendine Nook, but 26cm up above Outlane, which is very substantial.

There have been strong winds in many areas, which has also led to drifting and certainly on the moors above Holmfirth we have reports of drifts up to 50cm deep.

The temperature dropped as low as freezing overnight, but it started to pick up during the day and the snow started to go.

By the time we get to Good Friday, for most of us it will be a case of Snow, what snow?

But the blizzards highlighted the extremes of Huddersfields weather. A week earlier, the town had basked in balmy temperatures topping 20~C and people were out and about in shirt sleeves and even shorts.

Paul said: The Easter weekend will be unsettled and cloudy, with occasional showers, and, as I said, there could be the chance of some more snow early next week.

SOME 80,000 properties in Yorkshire and the North East suffered power cuts overnight after heavy ice and snow felled overhead power lines.

But engineers working around the clock managed to get supplies restored to half of them within hours, a Northern Powergrid spokesman said.

A further 200 incidents of damage, affecting 40,000 or so properties, remain to be repaired.

The engineers are facing difficulties, including drifting snow in their attempts to find and repair the damage.

The spokesman said: All available engineering teams have been deployed and are working hard to restore power to customers as soon as possible.

Additional teams are also answering customer calls into our contact centre.

We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask customers for their patience while repair and restoration work is carried out.

Significant areas impacted include the Whitby area in North Yorkshire with 12,000 customers without power.

We have deployed our customer service vehicles to these areas to provide hot drinks and offer support and advice to our customers whilst the repair work is undertaken.

The company set up a power cut helpline on 0800 375 675 for Yorkshire customers.

 

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