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Snow drifts set to create more disruption

Heavy snowfalls and ice in parts of the country are expected to cause disruption today, forecasters warned.

Kent and East Sussex were deluged with falls of up to 10cm overnight with drifting likely to create deeper lying snow in places.

The Met Office warned of icy roads across the eastern half of England where there were lighter falls.

Sub-zero conditions were experienced in many places that missed out on snow, with the lowest temperature of minus 8C recorded in Shap, Cumbria.

A series of wintry showers swept over central and eastern Britain from the North Sea yesterday, bringing rain, sleet and snow to many places.

The chilly weather will linger into the weekend but forecasters said the cold snap would not immediately be as severe as in December and January.

John Hutchinson, forecaster with MeteoGroup UK, the weather division of the Press Association, said the heaviest snow would be over by midday.

He said: "This morning will see more accumulations in Kent and East Sussex, but the worst of it will be over by midday with the odd snow shower about after that.

"Tonight there will be snow showers around in central and southern parts of England but they are unlikely to be heavy enough to cause problems.

"The daytime temperature in Kent will range between 1 and 3C so there will be some melting but with that much snow on the ground it won't be a full thaw.

"Tomorrow there will be more sleet and snow showers but nothing on the scale of last night."

Key road routes in Kent and East Sussex were said to be hazardous for motorists, according to local radio reports.

These include the A259 between Eastbourne and Bexhill, the M20 and A2 in Kent and roads around Ashford, Canterbury and Dover.

Dover Coastguard was called on to help dig out a stranded ambulance in Dover overnight.

A spokesman said four of its 4x4 vehicles were helping transfer staff and patients to and from hospitals in Eastbourne and Hastings.

A heavy goods vehicle overturned on the A271 near Battle due to the conditions, a spokeswoman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said.

Fire appliances in Hastings and St Leonards were experiencing difficulties navigating in and out of their stations.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it received "a few" calls from motorists stuck in snow drifts in parts of the county including Margate and Lydd.

All primary routes and secondary routes where possible were gritted yesterday afternoon ahead of the snow showers, Kent County Council said.