More snow on the way as winter's grip on the region tightens
Swathes of the shivering West Country were still blanketed in white last night as winter’s grip on the region tightened, with the threat of more snow on the way today and tomorrow.
There was no respite over the weekend from the travel misery to the roads, rail and air with layers of ice expected to thicken over snowfalls, compounding the situation.
In Bath, the ice clinging to the roads and pavements caused particular pain for an ambulance in Bloomfield Road, which had to be freed by a team of public-spirited locals.
The Met Office issued a yellow ice warning for today and tomorrow, as temperatures continue to stay around or below 0°C during the day, plunging further after dark.
Limited Deal. All day wedding photography only £545.00View details
All day wedding photography only £545.00
From Bridal preparations to first dance.
250+ Hi Res images on disc with full printing rights.
Professional photography at affordable prices.
Free no obligation consultations.
Offer subject to availability.
Book before 31st May 2013.
Available in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.
Contact: 01225 439257
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Forecaster Helen Chivers said the severity of forecast was still “somewhat uncertain”.
“People should be aware of the risk of further snow, not only for Tuesday but also later in the week,” she said. “The main risk people need to be aware of though continues to be ice.
“During the day temperatures are not getting much above 0°C and at night some more rural places near Bristol may see dips as low as -7°C.”
Although most of the region’s main roads are currently mostly clear of snow, back streets, hilly areas and pavements continue to be covered in ice which has not melted because of the cold temperatures. There are concerns that fresh snow could repeat the chaos of Friday, when about 10cm of the white stuff brought much of the West close to the halt.
Gritting teams have been out in force, with Somerset County Council saying “at risk” areas had been identified, while in Gloucestershire officials said around 50 per cent of roads in the county had now been gritted. In Wiltshire, highways personnel believed the temperature would not drop to freezing over the next couple of days, leaving the roads in a better state than the neighbouring counties.
Railway operators South West Trains and First Great Western have both warned of delays, while a question mark hangs over the ability of buses to tackle possible sub zero conditions. School closures seem inevitable, after hundreds closed on Friday.
The Highways Agency reopened the westbound carriageway of the M48 Severn River Crossing at 4.10pm yesterday, after compacted snow was finally cleared from the bridge deck. The eastbound carriageway had been reopened earlier in the day. A 40mph speed restriction remained in place.
Bristol Airport is operating as normal but Heathrow Airport – the world’s busiest two-runway airport – suffered yesterday with 260 flights, 20 per cent of Heathrow’s usual business, cancelled. Today, 10 per cent of flights will not operate because of expected low visibility.
Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson paid tribute to the council’s 58 snow wardens on the weekend, who were provided with grit, high visibility vests and snow shovels, as he made a visit to the city’s Stanley Hill.