THE New Year started with some of the coldest temperatures Hyndburn has seen for around a decade.
The icy conditions have left residents scraping their car windscreens four mornings in a row meaning many motorists have struggled to get to work on time as they battle with the icy roads.
Local weather enthusiast Roy Chetham, of Sutton Crescent, Huncoat, said: "The present cold snap started on Friday 3 January after a snowfall on Thursday night. We all woke up on Friday to very slight snow cover but it has lasted for the last four days. It's unusual these days, we don't usually get a snap like this but it's expected to last till the end of the week.
"The lowest temperature since then has been -3.6 degrees Celsius and that was on Sunday morning during the day. Since the icy weather hit the region, even day temperatures have not gone above one Celsius above freezing. We haven't had a spell like this for about 10 years but we are still not getting the really cold temperatures like we used to do 20 or 30 years ago."
Meanwhile police are urging motorists be prepared for the cold weather so accidents and crime can be avoided. Sergeant Stuart Isherwood, of Accrington's Road Policing Unit, said: "We do a get a slight increase this time of year in crashes on the roads. People are quite often unprepared for it and don't drive correctly The main thing is to allow extra time of at least 10 minutes to defrost the car properly.
"What we often get at this time of year is what we call the letterbox effect where people drive round with only a small part of their windscreen cleared of frost. This is very dangerous and is also a penalty ticket offence so make sure you can see out of all the windows in your vehicle.
"The other problem is people who leave the keys in the ignition while they go inside and wait for the car to defrost. This leaves thieves with the perfect opportunity to steal cars. The best thing to do is get your gloves on, get your hat on and wait inside the car while it defrosts."
Council gritters were also out in force throughout the borough, dealing with wet and icy roads.
John Schofield, from the Highways department at Hyndburn Council, said: "We have direct links to the Met Office and they give us a forecast on the weather. I think we have dealt with the situation very well and have not been caught by surprise.
"We are forever looking at the forecast and the cold weather is going to continue for a few days. The gritters have been out every night since the snap started and will continue to do so until the situation improves."
The cold has left many people longing for warmer weather but the spell has followed the seventh mildest December in 28 years.
Overall temperatures were 35 per cent warmer than an average December and there was also 46 per cent more sunshine and slightly less rain than usual.