A tale of two cities as snow hits parts of Plymouth
WHAT the Dickens! While Plymouth residents awaited the snow with Great Expectations, the result was very much a Tale of Two Cities.
North of the A38, Plymouth looked the very picture of a winter wonderland, while south of the Parkway much of the city escaped the flurries and had to make do with yet more rain.
Traffic around Crownhill and Derriford during yesterday's morning rush hour was sluggish as drivers carefully made their way through the slushy roads.
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Dartmoor Zoo in Sparkwell announced it was closed due to snow, while Plymouth city centre was untouched by snowflakes.
A Plymouth City Council spokesman said its gritters were out on Thursday night targeting the city's primary and secondary roads and again on Friday evening.
Brian George, operations manager for Citybus, described Friday as "a weird day". He said: "It was a really strange morning for our drivers. It's been different in parts, particularly in the northern part of the city. We had a couple of buses stuck in a bus bay in eight to 10 inches while 20ft away the road was clear.
"Ivybridge was a problem. We have a new service out there and we couldn't access the Park and Ride site purely due to the depth of the snow.
"The traffic patterns were strange too. Manadon roundabout heading north was trouble right up through to Derriford during yesterday morning.
"I think a lot of people left late for work, with some parents also doing a late school run, thinking the buses may not run. The roads were passable but traffic just backed up. All in all, it was a weird day."
While Plymouth was on the edge of the snow, Cornwall was hit by heavy rain.
A total of 120mm of snow was being forecast for Devon during yesterday with the higher ground of Dartmoor worst affected.
Strong winds of up to 45mph and freezing temperatures are forecast for the weekend.
Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said Plymouth's strange weather highlighted how small changes could have a big effect.
He said a number of factors came into play, including a southerly wind, coastal position and land height.
He said: "The north of Plymouth is higher and a little bit of high ground changes the temperature. In addition you have cold air across the UK pushing against the westerly and south westerly flow which brought us rain."
The milder air from the south meant those areas closest to the coastline – such as Plymouth – got rain instead of snow, while the small changes in temperature just a couple of miles north, added to the change in height, meant snow.
Drivers were being urged to take care over the weekend as more snow and icy conditions were predicted. Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre said: "We advise drivers to check road conditions and the Met Office weather forecast before they set off and during severe weather to consider whether their journey is essential."
About 1,000 customers in the South West had their power cut by the blizzards yesterday. A spokeswoman for Western Power Distribution said most problems were in isolated areas and caused by ice on electricity lines. North Devon was worst affected.
CABLE HIT BY FALLEN BRANCH
A ROAD was closed after the limb of a tree came down on a power line in snow and high winds.
Firefighters and electricians were called to Back Lane, Plympton St Maurice, after fears the high-voltage cable would be cut.
A fire crew from Plympton found a pole was damaged and the cable was in the road.
The scene was cordoned off so workers from Western Power Distribution could make the repair.
A company spokesman said ten customers were taken temporarily off the supply while the work was done.
The incident happened at about 7am yesterday and is the latest in a series of problems involving trees and power lines in the road, say residents.
"This has happened several times," said Tim Quinn, who lives in Back Lane. "I have seen a power line down on the ground with sparks coming out.
"Somebody is going to be really badly injured some time."
Although the cable was not cut this time, the branch that fell was "big enough to have killed somebody," he added.
Solicitors Howard and Over have written to the land owners, believed to be a property company in the city, on the residents' behalf urging "immediate action to eliminate the danger".
Mr Quinn, a solicitor who works for the law firm, said if the company failed to respond they could face an injunction.