From 20.4°C to almost zero

Brian Jones, 53, of Knowle Lane, Sheffield, clears his driveway of the unexpectedly thick snow falling on the morning of 4/04/2012.

Brian Jones, 53, of Knowle Lane, Sheffield, clears his driveway of the unexpectedly thick snow falling on the morning of 4/04/2012.

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ON Wednesday last week, temperatures in Sheffield soared to 20.4°C, not too far behind the March record of 23.6°C in 1965.

Shorts and t-shirts were dusted down and city centre workers flocked to the Peace Gardens, Tudor Square and Barkers Pool to soak up the sun during their lunch breaks.

A dog walker makes their way through snow in the Crosspool area of Sheffield.

A dog walker makes their way through snow in the Crosspool area of Sheffield.

On Wednesday this week, temperatures had dropped to near zero, and a few inches of snow blanketed the higher parts of the city.

Workers trudged into the city centre in a blizzard, muffled up as if it was the height of winter.

Weston Park weather station, which is run by Museums Sheffield, put it into some sort of context, tweeting: “We had 2cm of snow this morning. Believe it or not, this isn’t too unusual for the time of year. It was last recorded in April 2008.”

But coming so soon after what appeared to be an exceptional start to spring underlined the contrast. “I saw the forecast for snow the other day and thought it was an April Fool!” said another tweet.

Despite the accurate prediction, the snow took an inevitable toll, with cross-Pennine roads closed and some Sheffield buses withdrawn temporarily from some of the more exposed hills, such as in Stocksbridge, Totley and Lodge Moor.

Travel South Yorkshire public transport information website crashed with demand from commuters struggling to find out whether their services were running.

However, traffic wasn’t too badly affected because of the Easter school holidays.

The council said yesterday’s weather picture was varied across the city, with low-lying areas to the east having experienced rain and sleet but with snow on the ground. On the hills to the north and west side of the city there has been up to six inches, although all the main roads were passable with care.

All priority routes had been treated with rock salt and, if necessary, snow ploughs had been brought in.

Director of Street Force John Charlton said yesterday (Wednesday): “Plans we have in place are working well. We are well prepared and are working to keep Sheffield on the move as much as we can. We will be keeping an eye on the weather and will act accordingly.”

Temperatures were rising during the day and no snow was being forecast for the Easter weekend, which is expected to be overcast, cool and with some rain.

For the Peak District, though, winter returned briefly with a vengeance.

Debbie Robinson, manager of the Chequers pub and restaurant at Froggatt Edge, said yesterday: “It’s extremely bad on the top road – it took me an hour to get in from Sheffield this morning and I had to come in a Land Rover!

“It’s clear outside the pub but we’ve already had a table of six cancel for tonight. Luckily we’re full with residents and they arrived yesterday, so we’re digging in for the day.”

Bruce Howarth, landlord of the even more exposed Strines Inn, between the A57 and Bradfield, said: “We’ve got about six inches up here. The chef lives on site and so do I but we’re the only ones who have made it so far.

“We’re expecting a quiet day – but we’ll be staying open just in case anyone else makes it.”