Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Roads worry as temperatures fall

Gritter
Gritting lorries are out again as road temperatures fall

Gritting lorries are out in force again on Devon and Cornwall's roads, with more wintry showers expected together with sub-zero temperatures.

On Tuesday some areas in the north and west were covered in 4in (10cm) of snow and military rescue helicopters were used to assist ambulance services.

Snow and ice made many roads impassable and parts of the A30 and A39 were blocked by a series of accidents.

Vehicles were also stuck in snow on the Devon/Dorset border near Lyme Regis.

Police said some had broken down on the A3052 Sidmouth Road, blocking it both ways.

Drivers have been urged not to go out unless absolutely necessary.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for the A30 and A38, said motorists should avoid driving over higher ground like Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, as snow may accumulate very rapidly, stranding vehicles.

Rescue helicopter
An RAF Chivenor helicopter brought a patient to North Devon District Hospital

Chris Cranston from the Devon emergency control centre warned some minor roads would be very hazardous, with black ice a possibility.

More than 300 schools were closed. Many are expected to reopen on Wednesday, although some will remain shut.

In Devon these include Bideford College, Marldon Primary School, Stover School near Newton Abbot, Sandford School at Crediton and St Helens Primary in Abbotsham. Crediton Area Children's Centre has also cancelled its fire tots sessions.

In Cornwall, six schools have announced they will not open on Wednesday morning. They are Cape Cornwall School, Jacobstow Primary School, North Petherwin School, Pencalenick School, St Wenn Primary and Warbstow Primary.

Readers' views of the snowfall

Many head teachers will make a decision on Wednesday morning.

All out-patient appointments were cancelled at North Devon District Hospital, Royal Cornwall Hospital, St Michael's Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital.

Services were disrupted on First Great Western trains and Newquay Airport flights have been affected.

Two rescue helicopters, from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall and RAF Chivenor in north Devon, ferried patients cut off by snow who needed hospital treatment.

The eastbound carriageway of the A30 at Plusha near Launceston was covered with heavy snow and only one lane of the westbound carriageway was open.

Ferry stopped

Lorries came to a halt on the A30 at Bolventor, Lifton and Launceston.

The A39 between Camelford and Bude was almost impassable and four vehicles were stuck in the snow at Polyphant near Launceston.

The St Mawes passenger ferry near Falmouth was also a victim of the weather.

In Devon about 350 elderly people did not receive home help after Primecare, a County Council contractor, said the roads were too dangerous to venture out on.

All North Cornwall District Council leisure centres were closed and refuse collections were postponed.

Refuse collections were also cancelled in west Devon, Torridge in north Devon and they have been disrupted in the Teignbridge area of south Devon.

A number of sporting fixtures were also affected by the weather.



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