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East Surrey soldiers on through the snow
2:25pm Monday 21st January 2013 in Local News
Residents have wrapped up and soldiered on in East Surrey through the winter blast of ice and snow.
For despite the heavy snowfalls of last Friday and yesterday blanketing the Life area, the conditions had been well forecast and expected, and the major disruption of recent years was not repeated.
Last week, Surrey Police warned people to stay off the roads and only make essential journeys in the arctic conditions, and their message was heeded.
Surrey County Council's fleet of 39 gritters went into action salting roads, supported by a quad bike, an all-terrain vehicle and an army of 51 farmers equipped with spreaders and ploughs.
The council had stockpiled 16,000 tons of salt before the winter to treat roads across the county. The amount was double that needed in an average Surrey winter and 60% more than was used to keep the county moving last winter. At the start of winter, the county council’s 1,741 grit bins were filled to help people treat roads and pavements in their communities.
And while drivers and train users did face expected disruption, with traffic slowdowns and some rail services cancelled while others were changed, the icy roads gridlock of past years was avoided.
Gatwick Airport also weathered the winter blast well.
Despite an accumulation of more than 5cm of snow at the height of the snowfall, Gatwick remained open with flights safely landing and taking off.
Airport chiefs put their new £8 million pound snow fleet into action to keep the runway clear.
Speaking after last Friday's snowfall, a Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “We have been working closely with all our airline partners and their handling agents, Air Traffic Control and other interested parties, and as a result over 570 scheduled flights have been handled with minimal disruption.”
He said: “Gatwick's snow team has been out on the airfield throughout the course of today ploughing, sweeping and brushing away the snow to make it safe for aircraft to land and take-off.”
While schools across the county closed early last Friday at the first heavy fall of snow, this morning about 100 were still closed.
In the Life area, only 13 were closed, including Dovers Green Infant School in Reigate, Furzefield Primary Community School in Redhill, Horley Infant School, Langshott Infant School and Manorfield Primary and Nursery School in Horley, and Salfords Primary School in Salfords.
Two others – Oakwood School in Horley and Wray Common Primary School in Reigate – were set to open later in the morning.
All were expected to open tomorrow (Tuesday, January 22).
But with snow flurries still forecast for the next few days and temperatures expected to stay close to freezing, people were being advised that they should take great care when out and about, with the snow expected to lie for some time yet.
* Please email your pictures of the snow in East Surrey to Life at: email@example.com