Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

More disruption in Wales after coldest night of winter

Image of icy Wales from the Nasa satellite Terra, issued by the University of Dundee
An image of icy Wales on Thursday from the Nasa satellite Terra, issued by the University of Dundee

Travel problems and school closures are continuing after the coldest night of the winter in Wales, with temperatures as low as -15C reported.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning of widespread ice across the country.

Around 700 schools in Wales are closed on Friday due to the bad weather.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it was still having problems with its services for routine patients and its priority was people with a "clinical risk".

Tony Chatfield, south east Wales regional manager for patient care services, said: "In North Wales, we are now trying to run as normal service as possible, but certain areas are still problematic and patients are only being transported where safe to do so.

"With regard to the south east of Wales, and central and west Wales, while major routes are generally clear, lower category roads, and residential area access roads are still extremely poor and treacherous.

"It is also likely that your hospital clinic will not be open, and some hospitals have suspended routine clinic services."

Sennybridge (307m above sea level): -15C
Trawscoed (62m): -14C
Capel Curig (215m): -11C
Pembrey Sands (6m): -9C
Rhyl (76m): -9C
St Athan (49m): -7C
Aberporth (134m): -6C
Valley (10m): -6C
Milford Haven (32m): -5C
Cardiff Airport (67m): -5C
Lake Vyrnwy (359m): -5C
Mumbles (32m): -2C
Aberdaron (94m): -2C
Overnight temperatures around Wales. Source: Official Met Office weather stations

Roads and pavements remain icy in many areas, with some councils only gritting main roads. Meanwhile, some 200 homes in the Roath and Penylan areas of Cardiff were affected by frozen pipes.

Welsh Water said the problem was caused after a pressure regulator on Donald Street froze and engineers were called to fix the problem.

Sporting fixtures have also been hit, with Swansea City's Championship match at Middlesbrough a victim of the weather.

Cardiff City are still hoping their match at home to Blackpool will go ahead on Saturday, with fans helping to clear snow and ice from around the stadium.

In rugby, Saturday's Welsh Premiership fixture list has been wiped out, along with Ospreys v Ulster and Dragons v Connacht in the Magners League.

David Cameron at gritting depot
We are going to see more extreme weather events and we have to prepare for them better
David Cameron, Conservative leader

Conservative leader David Cameron visited a gritting depot in Newport and said there were "lessons to learn" from Britain's response to the situation.

Around 1,500 tonnes of salt from the depot have been used since Christmas in a bid to keep local roads open.

Mr Cameron said: "To be fair this is a very long and a very deep cold snap, so I think we have to be fair about that.

"But we are going to see more extreme weather events and we have to prepare for them better, and we probably do need to have larger stocks to make sure councils have larger stocks so they can cope with longer sessions."

Councils across Wales say the extended demand for gritting is putting pressure on their salt stocks and some have only two days' supply available.

On Thursday evening, Cardiff council said only a dozen principal routes in the city would be gritted, including the slip roads to the University Hospital of Wales.

Tony Hawkins was among Cardiff City fans helping to clear snow from around the stadium

The assembly government said it was giving extra supplies of gritting salt to some local authorities as many report their supplies are under pressures after days of round-the-clock salting to keep main routes open.

The A542 Horseshoe Pass in Denbighshire and A4061 Bwlch Mountain Road in Rhondda Cynon Taf are both closed.

People travelling by public transport are urged to check their operators' website for information.

First Great Western has suspended Cardiff to London Paddington services at 55 minutes past the hour and Paddington to Cardiff services at 15 minutes past the hour.

However, all services between London Paddington to and from Swansea are operating normally.

BBC Wales weather forecaster Derek Brockway said clear skies overnight meant another hard frost, with temperatures typically -5C to -10C.

The lowest temperature recorded was -15C in Sennybridge near Brecon, Powys.

He said: "The snow showers will move away, leaving the day fine and crisp, lots of blue skies and sunshine to enjoy, temperatures though struggling again to reach freezing with many areas remaining below freezing."

The record low temperature for Wales is -23.3C set in Rhayader, Powys, in January 1940.

"I don't think it will drop that low tonight in mid Wales but it could be a close call," Mr Brockway added.

On Thursday night, the Met Office station in Trawscoed in Ceredigion recorded -14C while ice formed at the marina in Aberystwyth for the first time since 1963.

Footage of the sheep rescue in a Pembrokeshire quarry

Slabs of ice

The extreme weather has led to reports of large slabs of ice floating down the River Dee at Newbridge in Wrexham county.

Sections of ice are also forming on the River Towy in Carmarthen.

In Denbighshire, the council has warned people to stay off the ice that has formed on Marine Lake in Rhyl.

Temperatures had plummeted to around -8 in the area on Friday morning, causing the salt water in the lake to freeze over.

Working overtime

Ian Olson, coastal facilities officer, said: "People should not attempt to access the ice under any circumstances, there is a thin layer of ice and the water below it is bitterly cold".

Glyndwr University in Wrexham has suspended the start of term until 18 January.

Meanwhile, one of Britain's largest bakers says its stepped up production of sliced bread by more than 30% to meet demand during the cold weather.

Braces, based at Crumlin near Newport, said they have sold the equivalent of two loaves a second over the last 24 hours - and will have produced a million extra loaves in the next 10 to 14 days.

Staff are working overtime, and an extra production line has been created to meet demand from their customers in Wales and the south west of England.

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