WINTER well and truly arrived in the Vale this week as several centimetres of snow covered the ground and freezing conditions sent temperatures tumbling.
The snow struck on Friday as about 10cm fell in 18 hours, with more settling in Evesham, Pershore and the villages during Sunday and throughout Tuesday night.
With forecasters predicting possible light snow flurries again today and tomorrow and with conditions barely reaching two degrees, the wintry weather looks set to stay.
Most residents enjoyed the snowy conditions and children took to the slopes to go sledging and build snowmen.
While many made the most of a few snow days, some people were less fortunate.
A man had to be airlifted to hospital after a sledging accident on Bredon Hill on Saturday.
The man in his 40s was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital after the accident at 2.30pm at Overbury with neck, back and chest injuries.
The accident sparked a reminder from the ambulance service to people to take a second to stop and think before sledging in dangerous places and they reported an increase in incidents as more people had slips and falls.
Traders were hit by the bad conditions as people stayed at home.
Nigel Robinson, of the Treasure Trove in Broadway, said Friday and Saturday were the worst days.
He said “The snow was bad over the weekend and affected business but the roads are clear now.
“Coach trips are coming here and it is getting back to normal. January is a quiet month anyway and you expect the snow at this time of year.”
On Monday only two schools were still affected by the weather with Blackminster Middle School closed and Honeybourne First School opening at 10am to pupils to allow everyone to get to school safely.
But few schools opened last Friday as the weather created dangerous walking and driving conditions.
Some closures caused controversy as one headteacher apologised for opening his school.
Pershore High School headteacher Clive Corbett apologised for opening on Friday morning and causing inconvenience to parents, denying it had been to protect attendance figures.
“Apologies to any parents who were inconvenienced by our attempt to keep the school open and our ultimate failure to do so,” he said.
“Apologies also for any communication difficulties and shortcomings. I know it has been suggested by one person we did so in order to protect our attendance figures.
“I can confirm that is totally untrue since low attendance on a snowy day has the opposite effect.
“I would like to thank the bus companies and Pershore High School staff for getting students safely home.”
The school reopened on Monday.
Problems also occurred when Worcestershire County Council’s website crashed on Friday as parents tried to find out if their child’s school was open. The site was down intermittently from 6.45am for just over an hour.
Councillor David Thain, cabinet member for transformation and change, said: “We would like to apologise for the intermittent service of our website which came at the worst possible time.”
Gritting crews have been out across the county every day, travelling the distance between Worcestershire and the North Pole and back again.
Golfers have had to keep their clubs in their bags as no games have been played at Broadway for more than a week.
Golfer Debbie Donoghue said: “As the freezing conditions look set to continue, it looks as though it might be some time before we are able to get our clubs out and play again.
“A number of golfers across the region will be going stir crazy.” St John Ambulance crews were kept busy helping community midwives in Worcestershire during the snow.
The charity had 4x4 vehicles ready and waiting to reach patients in rural or isolated areas and two of its vehicles were dedicated to helping NHS Worcestershire transport community midwives to urgent calls.
In Wychavon, waste collection crews were switched to provide support with snow clearance and gritting in town centre car parks.
A spokesperson for the council apologised and said: “Those affected on Friday should put excess refuse or recycling in sacks next to your bin for the next collection in two weeks’ time.”