Icy weather will ease - for now

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FORECASTERS say the latest wave of icy weather to hit the Portsmouth region will ease off over the next few days.

The Met Office says south-east Hampshire is unlikely to see a repeat of the heavy snowfall which affected the region over the weekend.

But experts say temperatures will remain low – and a white Christmas cannot be ruled out.

Rebeckah Sherwin, forecaster at the Met Office, said: 'It's still too early to tell if Portsmouth will see snow fall on Christmas Day.

'But this week will be very cold and there will be snow flurries taking place.

'Today there will be a blend of sleet and snow that may ease off this afternoon.

'Being so close to the coast means there is a strong chance of sleet from midday onwards.

'Some areas could see between 2cm to 5cm of snowfall today, and if you're unlucky maybe even 10cm.

'However it isn't going to be a problem and is likely to ease off for the rest of the week.

'We advise people to check the forecast on a daily basis.'

Click here for readers' snow pictures

Trains and ferries in and out of Portsmouth were running to schedule despite the icy conditions.

South West Trains are operating an amended service, with trains cancelled in rural areas such as Salisbury to Bristol.

Trains from the city to London remain unaffected.For full details see nationalrail.co.uk

Meanwhile, Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port was reporting business as usual.

Families woke on Saturday morning to a blanket of snow after freezing weather on Friday night. Youngsters headed for the slopes of Portsdown Hill for sledging fun and shoppers braved the icy paths to get their Christmas shopping done.

But it also caused widespread disruption with hundreds of rail passengers facing delays and winter holidaymakers enduring delayed or cancelled flights at Southampton, Bournemouth, Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Parts of the A3 were closed on Saturday and there were hazardous driving conditions on the M3.

Pompey's clash against Scunthorpe United at Fratton Park was postponed and the annual British Heart Foundation Santa jog, planned for Hayling Island yesterday, was called off.

Each year hundreds of people take part by either walking, jogging or running between the Hayling Island ferry and the Lifeboat Inn, either wearing fancy dress or Santa Claus outfits.

Lorraine Sandsford, who helped organise the event, said: 'We were really disappointed we had to cancel.

'We had around 50 people who had registered, but we always get a high turnout of people who come along on the day.

'I went along to the route as some people weren't aware the event had been cancelled and was sorry to turn them away.

'But it was the right thing to do because the route was extremely icy and it would've been unsafe for people to use the route.

'An Easter egg hunt or bunny hop is likely to be organised next year in place of the Santa jog.'

Hampshire County Council has placed more than 1,000 new salt bins in community locations to enable residents to help keep pavements and roads safe during cold snaps.

The council has been refilling the bins as regularly as possible, to help keep the county moving.

To help conserve salt stocks, it is possible the bins will be refilled with grit, which provides extra grip on roads and pavements.

The salt or grit in the bins is only for use on public paths, pavements and roads and not for people's personal use on their driveways or garden paths.

They are also asking people to look out for any vulnerable people who may live in their area and ensure they are doing well in the winter.

If you know of a vulnerable person then call adult services on 0845 603 5630.

For advice on keeping warm visit hants.gov.uk/severe-weather