More bad weather is forecast for this week

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MORE snow and freezing temperatures heading for South Holland could make the last Saturday before Christmas a nightmare for shoppers – but may be good news for traders.

The Met Office is predicting that rain showers on Wednesday night could turn to sleet or snow, with heavy snow showers predicted for Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures could plummet again, but will probably only reach -4C, rather than the -13C experienced last week – good news at least as road grit becomes much less effective below -8C.

However, Lincolnshire Police have re-issued advice to motorists to make common sense decisions about whether or not to make journeys in the snow.

Spokesman Dick Holmes said: “We are not saying people should not go and visit friends and relatives over Christmas, but they do need to make sensible decisions about whether their journey is necessary and safe.

“If you do decide to go out, the usual advice applies, such as driving to the weather conditions, allowing more braking space, and carrying a spade, warm clothing and hot drink in the car.

“You should also ensure you have a full tank of petrol because then at least you can leave the engine running and stay warm should you be stranded.”

Insp Holmes also urged everyone to be more patient with police and other emergency services in the snow, as they also struggle to get to incidents.

He said: “We are likely to experience a busy time because of bad weather and in some cases officers and staff find it difficult to get to work.

“We have recently come in for some criticism over how long it has taken to get to some incidents, but we urge people to be patient as we are having the same difficulties in getting from A to B safely as everyone else.”

The latest forecast puts this winter on course to be the coldest since 1890 and one of the snowiest for over a decade.

Some local traders found the recent spell of bad weather prevented shoppers from making journeys to the bigger centres such as Boston and Peterborough, leaving them no option but to buy their Christmas gifts in town. And they are hoping that, with time fast running out to get those last-minute gifts, bad weather predicted for later this week could be the best Christmas present they could ask for.

Jason Rooke, president of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is difficult to say, but it is possible that more snow will stop people driving further afield, which is good news for traders.

“On the other hand, if it is really bad it could stop people coming out at all and they may just leave their last-minute shopping even later.”

l See page 19 for more on traders’ plea for shoppers to stay local.