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Schools close early as Kent braced for snow chaos


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Frozen branches at the side of the road in Hythe. Picture: Garry Blackburn
Frozen branches at the side of the road in Hythe. Picture: Garry Blackburn

Frozen branches at the side of the road in Hythe. Picture: Garry Blackburn

Schools in and around Maidstone are closing early today as the county prepares for heavy snow and travel disruption.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the county and forecasters said the white stuff could settle as deep as 10cm in parts, with strong winds leading to snow drifts.

Several schools are sending pupils home early this afternoon because of the weather.

Among the first to announce closures were Mascalls School, Paddock Wood, and Edenbridge Primary, Edenbridge. Tonbridge Grammar School also closed at lunchtime.

Meanwhile, justice froze over at Maidstone Crown Court this afternoon with no cases being heard after lunch because of the snow.

Commuters were also warned to expect disruption on the roads and train network as the county battles to keep moving in sub-zero conditions.


Keep up-to-date with Kent school closures here


Kingsdown beach in the snow. Picture Marie Wilson, of Walmer.
Kingsdown beach in the snow. Picture Marie Wilson, of Walmer.

Dozens of gritters have been out in force as a band of snow is expected to push across Kent from the west today.

The Met Office's severe weather warning for Kent stretches into the weekend, with more snow showers likely on Saturday and widespread ice into Sunday morning.

Rail operator Southeastern said heavy snow and icy weather conditions were likely to affect train services.

It said trains have so far been running normally this morning and it is aiming to run a full service all day "weather permitting".

A Southeastern spokesman said this morning: "We know the bad weather is on its way.

"Moderate to heavy snow is expected to fall in the next few hours and continue through the day.

"We're reliant on Network Rail clearing the tracks and ensuring points and signals don't freeze up so we can run a train service.

"Given the weather forecast, there may be disruption on some routes through the day.

"Our staff will be out working to clear platforms and treat icy surfaces and Network Rail will be running snow and ice clearance trains day and night to help keep the network open.

"We're advising all passengers to check before travelling to see if train times have been altered, allow plenty of extra time and take extra care on the slippery roads and footpaths."

A snowy scene in east Kent
A snowy scene in east Kent

Kent County Council says it is primed to cope with whatever the weather conditions.

Staff concentrate on clearing primary routes first, which include access to hospitals, fire stations and other important facilities while it's snowing or if there are strong winds causing drifting.

Once those main roads are clear, staff will work on other roads.

A spokesman said its 60 gritters were out last night, and would be out again from 4am today.

Send us your snow pictures by tweeting @KM_newsroom or emailing messengernews@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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