GRITTERS were out in force today to keep Bolton’s streets safe but officials are warning drivers to beware of black ice.

Much snow has fallen today which has led to further school closures and worsening conditions on the road.

But a Met Office spokeswoman said the borough received less snow than the rest of the country due to its proximity to the Pennines leading some critics to accuse companies and schools of over-reacting.

Hundreds of people are said to have taken a snow day today. Attendances have fallen at companies across the borough which will have had economic ramifications. Others will have been forced to stay off work to look after their children.

The Met Office did not have figures for how much snow had fallen in the borough, but its closest monitoring station in North Staffordshire reported depths of 7cm.

The Met Office predicted light snowfall in Bolton today, between noon and 6pm, with temperatures expected to fall to -2C, and no more snow expected for the rest of the week with temperatures rising to a maximum of 1C tomorrow.

Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m pleased that our gritting teams have done a fantastic job over the weekend keeping all the main roads clear.

“They’ve been out in the evening and into the early hours just to make sure that the roads are safe.

“We’ve had a number of complimentary remarks on Twitter and the consensus is that they’ve done a fantastic job.”

He added: “The forecast was for a more substantial amount than we got, but that’s always the problem with snow and you just have to take what’s thrown at you.”

Cllr Chadwick said the council would be monitoring the situation using information from the Manchester Weather Centre and road-based sensors which monitor ground conditions.

Edmund King, president of the AA, warned of people driving so-called "snowman cars" by not clearing off the piles of snow on top of their vehicles before getting behind the wheel.

He said: "Drivers must clear the snow off their windscreens, lights and tops of their cars before setting out. This morning we have spotted lots of 'snowman cars', which are cars driving along with piles of snow on their tops.

"I saw one sports car this morning on the M3 with almost a snowman of its roof but the dangerous thing was that it was being followed by a motorcycle. The hardened snow could have been a real hazard, had it fallen off in the path of the motorcycle.

"We have also seen drivers peering out of small openings on their windscreen as if they were driving a tank. The other issue is the number of cars with their lights and indicators compacted with hardened snow.

"Drivers need to take a broom to clear excess snow off their vehicles before setting out."


He also advised motorists to stick to main roads where grit and extra traffic has helped keep the ice away.