Heavy snow has thrown a white blanket over Bolton, causing chaos on the roads as drivers appear to have been unprepared despite warnings throughout the day.

The snow had been falling lightly in parts of Bolton for much of the afternoon but began to get heavier around 4pm, sticking quickly.

Although gritters have been out in force, it has not helped much with tailbacks reported across the borough.

Reports are also coming in across Bolton on social media of up to seven inches of snow on high ground in the borough.

It is likely to cause more disruption for travel networks and people driving throughout the night and into tomorrow.

One motorist in the town centre told us: "It is chaos. There are jams everywhere. It's very difficult to walk because the pavements in a lot of places haven't been gritted but the roads are terrible. They have been gritted but this is too thick."

Maytree travel was forced to suspend all of its services after initially running the services will alterations.

Traffic backed up on the M61 following a broken down lorry and the closure of lanes one and two due to snow at around 5.30pm at J8 northbound. Drivers were queuing back to J6 in Horwich.

It took rush hour commuters more than an hour to travel from the town centre to Hunger Hill.

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As temperatures rise tomorrow, weather experts have warned of the risk of flooding when there is a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.

Temperatures will steadily rise from Saturday to an average of 4C followed by wet and windy weather next week.

Chris Burton, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: " A band of heavy rain will hit the west of the UK and move across eastwards throughout the day, quickly turning to snow. The greatest risk of heavy snow will Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and eastern parts of England which will widely see up to four inches, and up to an inch in the south."

"There is a localised flooding risk, particularly in Wales and the South West as heavy rain falls and warmer temperatures cause a rapid melt of the snow and ice which has built up in the last few weeks."

The Environment Agency has warned of the risk of minor localised flooding in some areas due to the rapid thaw. Flood risk manager Phil Rothwell said: "A combination of rain and snow melt over the weekend will increase the risk of flooding, especially in south west England, Wales, the West Midlands and northern England. We are closely monitoring the situation and have teams ready to respond to any potential flooding."

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