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More than 1,000 schools in the East closed by the snow

Up to 30 cm (1 ft) of snow was reported in this back garden in Norwich. Credit: Mimi Ronson

More than 1,000 schools are closed across the East of England as the 'Beast from the East' dumps more snow on the region.

More than 20 cm (8 inches) of snow has fallen in many parts of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex with more snow forecast.

More than 400 school has closed by Norfolk by 9am with a further 350 in Essex and 281 in Suffolk.

There are a handful of school closures in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire

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Fears for homeless as frosty weather moves in

Charities across the East are urging people to check on the vulnerable as temperatures plummet.

Four days of widespread snow are expected this week as the so-called 'Beast from the East' moves in.

It's prompted fears for the homeless after the death of a man who was sleeping rough in Chelmsford.

The body of Rob O'Connor was found in Springfield Road on Friday.

A homeless man was found dead in this shop doorway in Chelmsford. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Chelmsford charity CHESS Homeless runs a night shelter for rough sleepers - and a special winter project to provide more beds.

"Obviously as a charity we operate on a shoestring. We don't have a very big budget in any shape or form and we need central Government to push out more funds to help sort the problem out."

– Rob Saggs, CHESS Homeless

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One of the charities working alongside Tendring District Council in Essex is Winter Warmers.

They are giving out hundreds of bags containing blankets, hot water bottles and clothing to elderly and vulnerable people in the town.

"We've already given out about 500 packs to vulnerable people in the Tendring district and we would be expecting, over the next few weeks, for at least as many to go out again."

– Lisa Andrews, Community Voluntary Services Tendring

Drivers warned to prepare for snow disruption

Drivers are being warned to expect difficult road conditions Credit: ITV News

Drivers could find themselves facing road conditions they had not encountered for several years.

Norfolk County Council has warned snow can still settle on treated roads.

Drivers in Norfolk can find out more information on their social media pages or by searching #norfolkwinter.

In Suffolk an interactive map of gritted roads is available here.

The map for Essex is available here.

Information for Cambridgeshire can be found on their social media pages.

A map with Hertfordshire's gritting routes can be found here.

Information about gritting in Northamptonshire is available here.

Details about Bedfordshire's gritting routes can be found here.

Information on Buckinghamshire's gritting routes can be found here.

Train operator warns about potential for disruption due to snow

Train operator Greater Anglia is warning passengers to check before they travel as the Met Office predicts snow and freezing temperatures for the next few days.

Greater Anglia says that only key train services will run if two days of heavy snow and extreme weather conditions forecast materialise.

They have been working with Network Rail and weather forecasters to draw up contingency plans for the forecast spell of extreme weather.

“We apologise for the inconvenience that this reduced service causes customers. The last time such heavy snow fell in this region was over 25 years ago. In extreme conditions such as these, we work hard with Network Rail to keep key routes open, using snow ploughs, points heaters and mobilising all staff to clear snow off platforms and heat up and de-ice trains.

– Richard Dean, Greater Anglia

Because of the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday Greater Anglia says it plans to focus on keeping the main routes running if there is heavy snow, which are:

  • Norwich to London, Southend to London, Norwich to Cambridge and Cambridge/Stansted to London.
  • No service: Norwich to Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham, and Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft. There will be no rail replacement bus service on these routes either.
  • A reduced service will operate between, Ipswich, Colchester and London Liverpool Street due to slower speed restrictions.
  • Services on Monday will end at 22.00 to enable trains to return to return to depots and stations before the forecast snow storms start, so services will start to be reduced from 20.00.
  • Some empty trains will run throughout the night to keep lines clear of snow for the morning commute.
  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, the reduced service will operate only between 06.00 and 22.00.

If the weather is not as extreme as forecast, Greater Anglia and Network Rail say they will work hard to reinstate services and reopen lines as soon as possible.

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