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Big freeze is set to be followed by flooding
WINGS: Sculptor Ed Elliott took advantage of being snowed in to create this attention-grabbing creation in the shadow of the Malvern Hills.
THE big thaw looks to be on the way after a week of snow-related disruption.
While there could still be further snow flurries later on today, these are expected to turn to sleet and rain as temperatures warm up significantly over the weekend.
Malvern has had its deepest snow in two years this week, causing delight and disruption in equal measure.
Weather expert Frank Hill said about 12cm came down during the first fall on Friday while some higher areas received as much as 10cm more overnight on Tuesday.
Both falls caused disruption on the roads, with several bus services cancelled or disrupted, while many schools were fully or partially closed due to difficult travel conditions.
A bus skidded in heavy snow on Pickersleigh Road at about 9.15am on Friday.
Ambulance and police attended but no-one was injured and the road was cleared about 25 minutes later.
Many took to the hills and commons for a spot of sledging but one eight-year-old boy had to be rushed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where he was treated for a back injury, after a sledging accident near the Malvern Hills Hotel at about 1pm on Sunday.
Ambulance and fire crews were also called to help a man in his 20s who injured himself on a steep slope at the Old Hills, in Callow End, at about 4.20pm on Friday.
He was taken to Worcestershire Royal for treatment on a possible broken leg.
Work on a major overhaul of roads and pavements in Upton town centre, due to start on Monday, was postponed and is now expected to start next week, while Malvern Spa Association and Upton Garden Club had to cancel meetings.
However one intrepid group of revellers carried on despite the snow, with supporters of Colwall Orchard Group braving freezing conditions on Saturday night to wake up the spirits of Colwall's orchards with a traditional wassailing ceremony.
About 120 people turned out for the event, compared to 280 last year, but organiser Helen Stace said: “It was magical.
“The only sad thing was that a couple had come all the way from London to take part, but the snow held them up and they missed it.
“We met up with them in the Yew Tree Inn afterwards and sang them some wassailing songs.”
Another wassailing event, due to be held at Clives Fruit Farm in Upton did not survive the snow and will take place between 10am and 4pm on Sunday.
After a run of nights with sub-zero temperatures leading to freezing conditions, temperatures are expected to drop no lower than 3c over the weekend.
But rain and melting snow could cause flooding problems, with the Environment Agency warning it is poised to issue flood alerts and warnings in the Midlands early next week.
Residents are being advised that building snowmen could prove an unlikely way to keep flood water at bay – with compacted snow thawing less quickly and limiting the amount of surface water.
Mary Dhonau, chairman of the Flood Protection Association, said: “I don’t think there would be any stopping the river doing its worst but I really do think it would make a difference with surface water flooding on a housing estate.”