Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Airport closes following snowfall

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Media captionMotorists had to take care driving along the roads in Birmingham

Birmingham Airport has closed as snow continues to fall in the West Midlands.

All flights have been suspended until at least 18:00 GMT, the airport said.

More than 150 schools have closed across the West Midlands and councils in the region have been sending out their gritting teams.

BBC Midlands Today weather presenter Rebecca Wood said up to 15cm (6in) of snow was predicted in some areas, with 5cm (2in) to 10cm (4in) due in most places.

She said: "By about 8pm snow showers will start to ease, but light snow showers will continue through until tomorrow morning when there's a risk of ice."

Roads around Holloway Head were reported to be at a standstill.

A caller to BBC WM said the Bristol Road was gridlocked.

"If you are on your way to Birmingham, don't go in and if you want to get out, take a train," he said.

London Midland spokesman Wallace Weatherall said staff were facing tough conditions but services were running, although some may be delayed.

BBC correspondent Phil Mackie said the closure of the airport would affect about "20 plus departures plus knock-on effects".

Image caption Correspondent Phil Mackie tweeted a picture of Birmingham Airport

Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre closed at 17:00 GMT due to the weather.

Friday evening's performance of Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour at the NIA will go ahead.

But two people who emailed BBC News, Helen and Jim Burns, from Malvern, Worcestershire, said they were booked in for the 19:30 GMT performance and criticised the decision,

They said: "Unbelievably, the promoters have refused to cancel the event while nearby Birmingham Airport is closed and the region's road and rail networks are in chaos.

"But they are going ahead encouraging punters to risk life and limb on dangerous roads."

Image caption Snow has affected the area of the NIA

Earlier, a tour spokesperson said: "For those... unable to travel to the show this evening due to adverse weather conditions, we have a limited number of tickets available for the Sunday performance.

"The snow is due to stop later this afternoon, which should help to ease some of the surrounding areas and allow for relevant protection and gritting."

Friday afternoon's race meeting at Wolverhampton's all-weather surface has been abandoned due to snow.

All planned operations at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley have been cancelled over the weekend due to the snow.

Pawprint arrest

One of Sandwell's 3,700 snow champions, Richard Marshall, 45, said: "There were quite a few out in Bearwood this morning. Sandwell has got a good community spirit and that's why this scheme has taken off."

Snow tracks led Dudley police to arrest a teenage boy, thought to have smashed windows and overturned a car in Sedgley during Thursday night, the West Midlands force said.

Bricks were thrown at a small number of cars, including a private hire taxi whose windows were smashed. The driver was uninjured.

Image caption Duty cleaner Judith Gaffney said there had been a "few near misses"

A dog's snowy paw prints also led police on a mile-long journey to the home of two suspected metal thieves overnight, after a gas meter was snatched from the front of a house in Langley Avenue, Coseley.

Solihull Council and Wolverhampton City Council said there would be no sports fixtures over the weekend on any of their park pitches.

Judith Gaffney, duty cleaner at The Mailbox in Birmingham, has been sweeping the entrances and steps of the shopping and office complex as snowfall continued in the city.

"It's constant. I've done nothing else since about 7 o'clock," she said. "No one has fallen yet. But there's been a few near misses."

Tyson X was holding a We Buy Gold sign up for a Birmingham pawnbrokers, as snow fell around him.

"They [his employer] told me not to come in, but I wanted to because I really want to work, " he said.

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