A chilling reminder of last year’s cold snap

WHAT a difference to this time last year!

On this day 12 months ago Hartlepool was covered in a blanket of snow and shivering in sub-zero temperatures at the start of one of the coldest snaps to hit the town in decades.

Children were having snowball fights and building snowmen, while grown-ups suffered with chaos on the roads and struggled to get to and from work.

But this year, despite the gloomy skies, temperatures are at highs of 12C and snow is not expected to fall any time soon.

That is according to Met Office experts who predict that over the next four days there will be a mixture of sunshine and cloud.

People will still probably have to wrap up warm in winter coats, but last year’s thermal underwear will not be needed.

The impact of last year’s snow fall saw numerous shunts and bumps between vehicles on roads and dual-carriageways in and around the town.

It also saw several schools and nurseries in Hartlepool and east Durham having to close-up classrooms, leaving parents having to leave work to look after their children.

Heating bills soared as central heating thermostats remained cranked up, hospitals were inundated with leg and ankle sprains and fractures and water supplies were affected when freezing temeratures caused pipes to crack.

It lasted for weeks, and it was not until late December when it gradually began to thaw and the frost, snow and slush disappeared.

Our photographers got snaps from various places in town on this day a year ago, and here are two to illustrate the weather change.

Today’s weather forecast was expected to be a mixture of sunshine and cloud, with highs of 12C by midday, and a belt of low-level cloud and lows of 7C throughout tonight.

Tomorrow, weather predictors say the town can expect a sunny day at 9C, but with a cooler, partly cloudy evening at 4C.

The weekend looks set for sunshine and cloud, with highs of 10C during Saturday and 7C at night. Temperatures of 9C are expected for Sunday, falling to 5C by nighttime.

A Met Office spokesman added: “UK outlook for Monday, November 28, to Wednesday, December 7, will see a largely unsettled period across the bulk of the UK. Showers will turn to snow at times over high ground in the north.

“There will, however, be some drier and more settled interludes, especially towards the south-east of the country. Temperatures are likely to be around the seasonal average, but some places may see slightly below average temperatures at times, especially later in the period.

“This will bring an increased risk of frost overnight almost anywhere during any more settled spells, as well as an increased risk of snow to lower levels, mainly in the north of the UK.”