It's getting milder... but Arctic weather returns after the weekend

A SLOW thaw in the icy weather is expected over coming days in Yorkshire – but forecasters are already predicting the Arctic weather will return next week.

On Tuesday night, about 100 drivers were trapped on the A171 near Whitby after a sudden heavy snowfall quickly made the road impassable.

North Yorkshire Police and the Highways Agency were able to rescue them all but sub-zero conditions have continued to cause havoc on roads across the region with plunging overnight temperatures creating significant problems with both standing and black ice.

The Met Office is predicting a rise in temperatures today and over the weekend, but colder weather is set to return next week, with more snow predicted.

The bad weather has hit public services with the Royal Mail yesterday apologising for being unable to reach customers in parts of the region.

It has also emerged that a Hungarian lorry driver who became trapped in snow and had to abandon his vehicle on moors in Kirklees last week returned to discover his cabin had been ransacked and his belongings thrown out onto moorland.

Police said the driver had managed to find a hotel in Holmfirth last Thursday but when his lorry was found later on Friday on the A635 Greenfield Road it had been broken into.

In north east Lincolnshire, 30 volunteers, with the support of local 4x4 owners, helped staff from the local NHS deliver emergency food parcels to 50 vulnerable and elderly residents.

In Sheffield, British Gas engineer Richard Berry has won plaudits after he last week walked five miles to first obtain a spare part that could not be delivered by Royal Mail and then to an elderly customer to repair his central heating.

Meanwhile Transport Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday suggested the public should have access to grit and salt supplies to help clear roads that are not treated by councils.

In Scotland, the Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, faced calls to quit as the SNP Government's response to the severe winter weather was branded a "cock-up" by Labour.