A SNOW storm wreaked havoc across East Lancashire yesterday forcing schools to close and roads to become impassable.

The emergency services were called out to crashes across the region as the adverse weather continued until early afternoon.

More than 120 schools were closed with staff and students unable to make the journey while the conditions also forced a number of libraries to shut as well.

Gritters were spotted stuck in traffic during the morning rush hour after being forced to complete another round because of the heavy snowfall from around 4am.

Day centre transport provided by Lancashire County Council was also disrupted throughout as well as local bus services.

The latest downpour came after East Lancashire was covered in a blanket of snow on Wednesday, but only a few hours of disruption was caused and only a small number of schools closed then.

Council waste collections were cancelled while Darwen fire service’s 4x4 was called out to help district nurses to their rounds in the area.

Several schools announced that they were open in the morning but were forced to close at lunchtime including Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn and Pendle Vale in Nelson.

Roads such as Brandy House Brow, Haslingden Road and Broadhead Road in Blackburn were said to be impassable while many more in and around rural villages were also blocked by the snow.

Many schools remained open but advised their students to only come in if it was safe to do so.

Lancashire Telegraph readers sent in their snow pictures yesterday with hundreds of children and their parents making the most of the unexpected day off.

Motorists faced long delays after crashes and congestion on the M65 as well as the main link roads, while town centres grounded to a halt due to the tricky driving conditions.

Drivers took to the internet to vent their frustration after the second significant snow fall in a week with some saying that Barbara Castle Way was an ‘ice rink’ in the morning.

A jack-knifed lorry blocked access on the A6119 towards the Whitebirk roundabout in Blackburn for 40 minutes while a shunt on the slip road coming off the M65 at junction six also saw traffic back up around rush hour.

Schools across East Lancashire have said that they will open as normal on Monday unless parents are told otherwise.

County Council chairman Cllr Margaret Brindle said: I was supposed to go to county hall in Preston but I took one look out of the window and saw that the journey was going to be impossible.

“The gritters work very hard and I have to take my hat off to them.

“They can’t be everywhere at once and they do prioritise the main routes.

“There is only so much that councils can do.

“I can understand why schools have to close for the day. The pupils travel from greater differences than they did in the past and noone wants to see them put at risk.

“It’s only right that the schools put the safety of their pupils first.”

The police said that they had been called to crashes across East Lancashire but that there had been no serious injuries.

In Blackburn, fly tipping clearances, bulky collections and street cleansing services were suspended as they were diverted to help with gritting.

Gritting took place across the region on Thursday evening and throughout the night after it was forecast to snow through to yesterday morning.

Cllr Jeff Sumner, who represents Burnley on the county council, had criticised the amount of gritting that took place over night from Thursday to Friday and said that he hoped the council would ‘learn their lesson’.

He said: “It’s disappointing to see this happen again as it was chaos everywhere.

“Cars were being damaged, traffic was building up and people couldn’t get to work.

“It’s disgraceful that we can’t seem to react well to snow falling.”

However Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “In the borough we had five gritters out from 2.45am and they did all the could.

“We have enough grit left because we had such a mild winter.

“Everybody from the department was out helping yesterday as much a they could.”