South Wales braced for blast of wintry weather
WARNINGS of snow, ice and rain remain in place for most of the country today and tomorrow as South Wales gears up for a blast of wintry weather.
The Met Office yesterday issued two separate yellow “be aware” warnings.
In the first, snow showers were forecast to hit Scotland, Northern Ireland, parts of England, North Wales and West Wales.
In the second alert, people living in Cardiff, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, the Vale of Glamorgan and RCT were warned that rain moving eastwards across the region “may turn to snow in places”.
The Met Office’s alert says: “There is a chance of snow settling with disruption to road, rail and air services as well as interruptions to power supplies and other utilities – this more likely across East Anglia and southeast England.
“Associated heavy rain and strong winds may prove additional hazards.
“As skies clear on Thursday night there is also potential for widespread ice to form quite rapidly on untreated surfaces.”
However, forecasters said snow was more likely on higher ground, with Derek Brockway predicting it would be “mostly rain in Cardiff. Rain in Merthyr then sleet and snow. Rain and sleet in Brecon, snow showers later. A little snow in Bala.”
Councils across Wales have been preparing for the possible disruption the weather may cause, and have been making contingency plans to ensure any snow causes minimal disturbance.
In Cardiff, council cabinet transport chief Ramesh Patel said keeping the city moving was “a major priority”, with assurances issued to residents that preparations are fully in place.
Authorities the length of Wales have put in place winter contingency plans – with Caerphilly council keeping 10,000 tonnes of grit in storage for its fleet of 13 gritters.
Cabinet member Councillor Tom Williams said: “Retaining vital services, supporting vulnerable people and keeping our county borough moving during wintry weather is of paramount importance.”
For parents, the possible closure of their children’s schools may be a worry.
To find out about school closures, councils urge those in affected areas to check their websites, along with the school’s websites or social media.
Meanwhile, with wind chill temperatures in Cardiff forecast to dip as low as -4°C overnight, health chiefs have warned that the elderly can be particularly vulnerable to a sudden cold snap.
Sarah Spencer, emergency consultant at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital, said: “Every year we see an increase in patients arriving at our emergency departments with broken bones and other injuries from falling in snow and ice.
“For some people this means having a wrist, arm or leg in a plaster cast for a few weeks.
“But for others it can be much more serious and very painful, requiring an operation and a stay in hospital.”
Anyone who does have go out is strongly advised to take extra care and wear warm clothes and non-slip shoes.
Elsewhere in the UK, heavy winds yesterday battered much of northern England – while in Scotland, motorists faced long delays as the Forth Road Bridge was closed after a lorry blew over in the early hours of the morning.
In Poland, two more deaths were reported yesterday. The cold snap has now been blamed for at least 65 deaths there.
Weather: Page 6