SNOW and sleet hit parts of East Lancashire as the weather took a dramatic turn.

But a local weather expert has said conditions will improve by the Easter weekend, although some rain is expected.

Temperatures plummeted on Tuesday night with rural roads above Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale the worst affected.

Some road closures were put in place but police said there were no serious incidents.

The snowy scenes were in stark contrast to the warmest March on record for the area in 40 years.

Roy Chetham, who operates a weather station in Huncoat, said temperatures could hit double figures this weekend as the weather becomes milder.

He said: "It is exceptional to be so warm then so cold in a week.

"Tuesday March 27 was the warmest day I've ever known in 38 years. Even the mean temperatures were highest for March. The rainfall was the least ever in 38 years.

"The weather is unusual in a sense because it was warm and sunny in March. It is not unusual to be colder and wintry in April as that has happened before.

"It could be a result of climate change, as we are having extreme examples of weather.

"Hopefully it will be a normal Easter with weather you can get outside."

Burnley Road was closed due to snow at A671 Bacup Road with surrounding routes affected by the poor weather yesterday.

Gritters were out from 6pm on Tuesday and worked throughout the night. They were due to go out again last night as frost and ice was forecast.

Duncan Reeve, highways manager for East Lancashire, said yesterday: “We've continued gritting today and, where necessary, clearing snow using blowers and ploughs where the wind had caused some drifts and larger accumulations on rural roads which has particularly affected Burnley and Pendle.

"As always our advice to drivers is to be careful and drive to the conditions. Some roads have been difficult to pass today and routes that have been gritted can remain icy as the salt needs the passage of traffic to mix with the ice and take effect.

"We're planning another full treatment of all the main routes."