SUDDEN snow flurries and freezing temperatures caused havoc across East Lancashire yesterday.

Around an inch of the white stuff fell over the region in around an hour in the morning, causing problems on roads and forcing schools to shut.

Drivers reported treacherous conditions off the main routes, with blizzard-like snowfall coming down on the A56 Rawtenstall bypass.

In Nelson, a heavy goods vehicle overturned in Reedyford Road, by the motorway roundabout, at around 1.50pm. The driver of the lorry, which was carrying recyclable plastics, escaped with a minor shoulder injury.

A crane was used to move the vehicle and the road was still shut at 4pm.

Traffic backed up on the motorway and police had to direct traffic off the roundabout.

Snow and ice caused a collision involving a Toyota Rav 4, between Main Street in Gisburn and Burnley Road, near Blacko, at around 9.15am.

The vehicle flipped on its side and although emergency services were concerned somebody may have been trapped, the driver suffered minor injuries.

A camper van was recovered from the same stretch and the road had to be closed in both directions for several hours.

And in Ramsbottom, both carriageways of Lumb Carr Lane were shut for around two hours because of reports of severe ice and snow. Once the road had been gritted, it was reopened.

Brierfield Woodfield Nursery and Laneshaw Bridge Primary schools were closed due to the conditions and Colne Newtown Nursery was closed in the afternoon as the snow put pressure on staffing levels. Rossendale’s Sharneyford Primary was also forced to close.

Lancashire County Council’s website said the authority had been warned of temperatures falling to around -6.5C.

All priority routes in East Lancashire were to be gritted yesterday, with salting continuing on the main stretches until around 3am today. The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for ice, which was in place until midnight.

Pendle and Rossendale Mountain Rescue team was called out six times yesterday across East Lancs to help push, pull and winch ambulances out of the snow, or carry patients on their specialist stretchers or in all terrain 4x4s for those stranded on side roads.

Peter Goble, team leader, said the crew had been called to Haslingden, Padiham, Sabden, Blackburn and Bacup to help North West Ambulance Service.