Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow causes closures and delays

Lewknor School
Lewknor School is one of 50 closed across the county

Heavy snow is causing severe disruption across Oxfordshire after the heaviest snowfall seen in the south-east of England for 18 years.

More than 50 schools have closed because of the weather.

Public transport has also been hit with delays on train and bus services to and from London and around the region.

A severe weather warning has been given in the county. About 3cm (1.2in) of snow is expected overnight, but there could be up to 10cm (4in) in places.

More snow is also forecast throughout the week.

South Central Ambulance Service, which covers Oxfordshire, has had to start using 4x4 vehicles to reach people in some rural areas.

A spokeswoman for the service said: "We are experiencing loads of falls and we've had a couple of road traffic accidents.

"What's happening is our response times are a lot slower - obviously because of the road conditions - and it's taking more time to get to people.

"We've seen a rise in the number of people saying they've fallen, but also breathing difficulties and chest pains."

Please leave extra time and don't rush because that's when accidents happen
Councillor Ian Hudspeth

St John Ambulance said its volunteers have been helping the main ambulance service since the snow started falling.

Accident and emergency units at the John Radcliffe and Horton Hospitals said they have seen a sudden increase in weather-related casualties.

Up to 6in (15cm) of snow has fallen in some parts of the South East and winds are gusting up to 22mph (35km/h), making conditions on the roads treacherous.

Police are advising against driving unless absolutely necessary.

Teams of gritters have been out during the day and will remain working on the roads through the night.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth said: "Although the gritters are out, please leave extra time and don't rush because that's when accidents happen. "

First Great Western (FGW) services between London Paddington and Oxford are experiencing severe delays.

Chiltern Railways said they were running as "normal a service as possible".

Bus services to London and nearby airports are running but are experiencing delays.

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