WINTER blasted back across Dorset today, closing major routes and forcing many cars to be abandoned in huge snow drifts.
The great British weather joke was nowhere funnier than in Weymouth where the town beneath the Ridgeway divide had virtually a month’s rain in 48 hours.
That included a deluge this morning which battered drivers into submission from the seafront to Littlemoor, but it was a different story once motorists began to climb up the relief road towards the county town of Dorchester.
Rain being plastered across windscreens suddenly disappeared as if some giant tap had been turned off as droplets turned first to sleet and then to big snowflakes. The impact was startling.
Speeds fell away from 50mph-60mph to a cautious 25mph, the upward two lanes were reduced to a single set of black tyre tracks increasingly shrouded in white and visibility dropped dramatically from several miles to a few hundreds yards.
The higher the road rose the denser the blizzard conditions became until tentative traffic crested Ridgeway and began to crawl towards Dorchester into the teeth of the latest winter’s blast, headlights blurred by swirling snow.
Vehicles coming the other way had as much as six inches of snow on their rooftops, clumps occasionally being jarred off to explode on the road or over cars coming in the opposite direction.
Conditions were almost surreal with every outline blurred and every driver hoping the tracks in front of them remained visible because all road markings had long since disappeared.
A decent team of huskies could have overtaken everyone at one point as one section of road where wind had whipped snow into drift conditions forced drivers almost to a standstill as they negotiated their way over snow packed into icy slush.
It made you proud to be British! Only in a Britain supposedly welcoming in Spring flowers, migrant Spring birds and the first flush of Spring green could we conjure up the sort of scenes reserved for television coverage of howling winter blizzard conditions on the east coast of America.
The Rideway is famous for creating its own weather conditions and the difference between Dorchester struggling to escape from being choked by a snowstorm while just a few miles down the road was Weymouth getting soaked to the skin had to be seen to be believed.
Fortunately we all should be able to enjoy Spring when winter’s finished having its joke at our expense, but there must be a few worried thoughts that the brutal weather of 2012 doesn’t exactly seem to have been a passing blip.
If the first eleven weeks of 2013 are anything to go by then maybe the Gods have a few more weather phenomena to throw at us, perhaps a nice juicy unseasonal tornado or two although that will probably be reserved for summer when we can all really enjoy being sucked up into the air and blown down to Spain. At least we’d be guaranteed some sunshine there!