Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Heavy snow hits schools and roads

Ammanford in the snow
A white landscape with a blue tinge in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire. Picture: Stuart Mander


Heavy snow has brought delays and disruption to road users across much of Wales as almost 550 schools closed.

Up to 15cm (6in) fell in some areas, with south, west and mid Wales worst hit, and there were fresh falls up to 5-10cm (2.5-4in) mostly on high ground.

The snow is moving north but turning lighter, and the Met Office warned of icy roads on Tuesday night, as well as a risk of more snow on Thursday.

Gwent Police had 350 complaints about young people throwing snowballs.

Police said minor roads, especially on high ground, were hazardous.

Arriva Trains Wales had early morning disruption as staff struggled to get to work, but trains later ran normally.

Maesteg in the snow
Few ventured into Maesteg town centre early on Tuesday (pic: Ross Thomas)

The A465 at Aberdulais near Neath was described by South Wales Police as "treacherous" after a lorry came off the road at a roundabout in the early hours.

The A4233Maerdy mountain road and the A469 Caerphilly mountain road in south Wales were both shut early in the day.

One motorist died at Sandy Bridge, Llanelli, although police believe he died of natural causes.

Cardiff International Airport closed its runways during the morning closed while they were cleared of snow.

First Buses, which covers south and west Wales, said all its vehicles were off the road. The firm was reviewing the situation.

Advertisement

Snow causes heavy disruption

A spokeswoman for Veolia Transport Cymru said: "We've cancelled the majority of our services as weather conditions have deteriorated.

"Depots in the west of Wales are all closed, the Abercynon depot has pulled services and the Llantwit Fardre depot, which runs to Bridgend, Pontypridd and Cardiff, will be pulling services."

First Bus said customers wanting specific information or updates were advised to call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

In Swansea all refuse and recycling collections were cancelled and civic amenity sites closed with staff redeployed to help grit main roads and city centre pavements. No Swansea buses were running in the morning, including all park and ride and social services transport.

In Bridgend, Port Talbot and Llanelli services were running along main roads only.

In Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, most services were operating normally, although customers were being asked to be patient as the drivers were being forced to drive with more caution in the interests of passenger safety.

Kingsway, Swansea, in the snow
The normally busy Kingsway in Swansea city centre has a white-out

On Monday about 180 schools had shut, and many had earlier announced they would also close on Tuesday. The total shut on Tuesday rose to almost 550, and a number of schools have already said they will also close on Wednesday.

Those who have said they will shut on Wednesday are: Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Aberdar, Tonyrefail Comprehensive, Cardinal Newman Comprehensive, Blaengwawr Comprehensive, Mountain Ash Comprehensive (all Rhondda Cynon Taf); Rhydri Primary (Caerphilly); Afon Taf High, St Aloysius Primary, (Merthyr).

Gwent Police said they received a 50% increase in calls over the past 24 hours due to the weather, with some 350 of these from people complaining about youngsters throwing snowballs.

Chief Inspector Jim Baker said: "We understand that there is a temptation for youngsters to play in the snow which is fine but we would urge them to have sense.

"If they want to throw snowballs don't aim them at members of the public, or drivers, who may be put in danger because of it or who may not appreciate the snow as much as them.

"We would also like people to be thoughtful of the demand put on us at this time and to only call us if there is a real need to do so: many of the calls we have received are reporting youngsters throwing snowballs and while our call operators are taking those calls, they are prevented from taking calls from people who may well need help,"

The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for south and west Wales.

It said further outbreaks of snow are expected in some areas of Wales giving accumulations of about 2-5cm (1 - 2.5in) on lower ground near coasts, but up to 10cm (4in) inland and over higher ground.

Traffic Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government's traffic and travel information service, has advised motorists to leave plenty of time for journeys and to listen to radio traffic reports to get an idea of road conditions and any incidents.

A statement said: "Remember that icy roads can increase stopping distances by 85%, so keep your distance from the vehicle ahead of you and avoid sudden movements.

"Consider taking a winter pack on your journeys.

"We suggest a mobile phone to use in emergencies (making sure it is safe and legal to do so), warm clothes, some food and drink and even a shovel if heavy snow has been forecast."

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Wales in snow
03 Feb 09 |  In Pictures

RELATED BBC LINKS


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific