SIBERIA hit Hampshire this morning with increasingly heavy snow through the morning rush hour.

The blizzard brought travel chaos for commuters and forced schools across the region to close.

Met Office experts said that parts of the county would be left under a 6in (15cm) blanket of snow, with up to 10cm predicted for the county.

Gritters were out in force in the early hours of this morning as Hampshire’s civic chiefs fought to battle the Arctic conditions and keep the roads moving.

Around 100 farmers were also on standby to help clear snow from the roads using snow ploughs, with volunteer drivers in 4x4 vehicles also at the ready to get to key workers like doctors and nurses.

County council’s deputy leader Councillor Mel Kendal said: “The forecasts we receive indicate that it will snow in Hampshire from approximately 4am and that it is likely to be persistent, with 5cm to 10cm settling across the county, although to a lesser extent in coastal areas."

Cllr Kendal added: “I would ask people to do their bit to help by using the salt in the community salt bins to treat public roads and pavements near where they live.”

Today Hampshire police urged motorists to avoid travelling on the roads this morning unless absolutely necessary.

The city council has also cancelled park and ride services from Winchester South and Winchester St Catherine’s after buses struggled to get traction on the roads, although services will be reviewed throughout the day.

Winchester Railway Station is still open but South West Trains and Southern Railway networks are running revised routes.

Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Andover War Memorial Hospital are open as usual today.  If any service is affected patients will be contacted directly.

Patients are advised to attend outpatient appointments unless advised otherwise by the hospital.