'Heavy snow' expected to fall today
PUBLISHED: 10:48 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 31 January 2019
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'Heavy snow' is likely to fall in the South West this afternoon (today), according to the Met Office.
It has increased the severity of today’s weather warning for large parts of North Somerset and Somerset.
Coastal areas may escape the worst of the snow, according to forecasters, but key transport routes may be significantly affected.
Weston-super-Mare is under a yellow weather warning – the least serious – but large stretches of the A370 and A38 are under an amber warning.
Highways England’s head of service delivery in the South West, Chris Regan, said: “Gritters are out treating our routes around the clock but it is still important to drive to the conditions when snow is forecast.
“If you need to travel in the afternoon, make sure you keep your distance and reduce your speed because, even in conditions that seem normal and the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh salt has not been worked into the carriageway.
“Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel if they really need to travel.
“We would however encourage drivers across the region to think about how they might return home this afternoon before the snow affects their journey.”
North Somerset Council has deployed teams in recent days to grit its roads as temperatures plummet well below freezing.
When may it snow?
The weather warning is in force from noon to 9pm.
Nicola Maxey, from the Met Office, said: “With snow in the forecast it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the latest Met Office forecast and warnings for your area to ensure you’re up to date with the latest situation.
“You can do this by checking the Met Office website for the daily forecast or our warnings page, or you could download our weather app which will ensure you can keep up to date while you are out and about.
“With the latest weather information for your area you will be able better prepare for what is in store and plan your activities accordingly.”
King Alfred School, an Academy, in Highbridge meanwhile has taken the decision to cancel all after-school activities today in case of snow.
People are being asked to look out for friends and neighbours, especially those who may be elderly or vulnerable.
Dr Lesley Ward, clinical lead for unplanned care at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Cold weather can have a severe impact on health, particularly for people who are already vulnerable because of age, illness or disability.
“We would encourage local people to check in with elderly family and friends to make sure they are OK and have everything they need.
“Severe weather conditions can also cause an increase in winter illnesses like coughs and colds and contribute towards pressure on local health services. If you have an urgent medical problem, remember that local minor injuries inits are available to treat sprains, strains, cuts, grazes, minor head injuries and minor broken bones.
“You can also dial 111 at any time for free, professional advice about which NHS service is best for you.”
“Snow is also likely to cause travel disruption and make it difficult for some people to attend work.
“If you have to travel for medical appointments, please leave plenty of time to allow for slow travelling conditions or a reduced public transport service.”