East Midlands Flood Warning

Flash floods could hit the East Midlands as the big freeze turns into the big thaw, forecasters have warned.

Warmer temperatures and heavy rain are forecast across England on Saturday - before temperatures are set to plunge again.

Motorists faced treacherous driving conditions on Wednesday as a fresh wave of snow arrived following cutbacks in road gritting.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the bad weather had brought the economy to a "standstill" - with estimates it was costing at least £600 million a day.

Major roads were closed, some airport runways shut and train services disrupted in the wake of the latest snowfall.

Hospitals also reported a surge in cases of fractured and broken bones, while hundreds of schools closed.

Julian Mayes, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It looks like the end of the snow but not the havoc.

"Originally it was thought there wasn't much of a flood risk because rivers were low and the snow was powdery. But flooding is now likely because tomorrow night will be much milder and southerly winds will push rain through the west.

"There will be rain across England on the Saturday and with milder temperatures there will be some flooding."

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "There may be an increased risk of flooding in some areas over the weekend due to predicted heavy rain and the partial thawing of snow due to slightly higher temperatures, and we continue to closely monitor weather conditions and river levels."

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