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Heavy snow falls across Gloucestershire - schools closed

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

  • Charlotte West with her snowman

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Heavy snow fell across Gloucestershire this morning creating hazardous driving conditions and closing schools.

Hundreds of schools are closed and there is widespread disruption on roads around Gloucestershire.

The Met Office has issued an amber severe weather warning for snow for the county for today.

The snow began falling at around 5am this morning and by 10am around two to three inches had already fallen.

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Roads in rural areas are particularly badly hit and drivers are urged to take care.

The snow continued until around 3pm today and then began to slow down.

As the snow eases off today the Met Office is now warning of icy conditions tomorrow.

It has a yellow severe weather warning for ice tomorrow and is urging drivers to take care.

The Met Office's warning for tomorrow says: "Although some further slight snowfalls are likely, with 1 to 2 cm of fresh snow in a few places, the focus switches to ice, with sub-zero temperatures persisting over existing snow cover for many areas and spreading back into parts of the southwest towards daybreak on Saturday.

"The public should be aware of the risk of localised disruption to transport during this spell of wintry weather.".

Appointments at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals have been cancelled for today.

Patients are advised to keep checking

Gloucestershire Hospitals website for updates.

Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital have both had a handful of patients come into A&E with injuries caused by the snow.

An NHS Gloucestershire spokeswoman said a number of staff had been unable to make it into work because of road and school closures.

She said dozens of employees who had not been scheduled to work today have phoned in to volunteer to cover shifts.

Many staff are planning to stay overnight at the hospitals in order to avoid problems with travelling to and from work.

Director of Nursing, Maggie Arnold, said: “Many of our staff have really pulled out the stops to get into work – walking through the weather or arranging lifts in 4x4s with friends.

“Many are staying overnight so that the care of patients isn’t disrupted. We are very grateful to them all, also to those who have called in to offer to work shifts over the weekend and to our volunteer drivers with 4x4 vehicles who are helping to transport staff who wouldn’t otherwise make it into the hospital.

“We are very busy but our contingency plans are working well.”

Lightvalue1840 uploaded this video on Youtube:

Refuse collections in Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Stroud and the Cotswolds have been suspended.

Gloucester Quays shopping centre is closing at 2pm today because of the snow - it usually shuts at 8pm.

Latest Gloucestershire weather forecast

Highways Agency traffic updates

Gloucestershire County Council winter weather advice website

Gloucestershire closed schools

The various agencies of Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum say they will continue to work closely to keep the county moving as the impact of this morning’s heavy snow becomes clearer.

The Forum, which coordinates agencies including emergency services, local authorities, health services and the Environment Agency, says it has been in close communication throughout the recent period of bad weather – sharing resources where necessary.

Gloucestershire Highways and the Highways Agency have been coordinating the local response, keeping all major roads and many minor roads treated for the safety of residents.

A number of agencies have been in a position to offer 4x4 transport to travel through the snow – with Great Western Ambulance Service and local hospitals benefiting from Fire and Rescue and Environment Agency vehicles.

Gloucestershire Highways teams are out treating key routes this afternoon and anticipate further gritting runs this evening following rush hour.

The latest Met Office forecast predicts an easing of the snowfall seen this morning throughout the weekend, but continued low temperatures are expected to lead to impacted snow on the highways across the county.

With brisk winds continuing, drifting snow is still likely, especially on higher ground, which may mean drivers experience much deeper snow than they might have anticipated.

County council and district council services are open for business as usual. However, residents are reminded that some services in the county will be carried out by a reduced number of staff.

Oak Quarry and Fosse Cross household recycling centres are also closed due to the weather.

With the chance of ice on county pavements as well as roads, residents, particularly the vulnerable, are urged to take extra care when travelling and encouraged to stay at home if possible.

Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer and chair of the LRF, Jon Hall, said: “The county’s agencies have, once again, shown a coordinated and professional approach to this latest period of bad weather and worked closely together to ensure all services respond in the most effective way possible.

“I am grateful for all the hard work that has been done in the county to ensure residents are kept safe and informed of the work we are all doing to help them carry on with their lives as best they can.”

Gloucestershire County Council is urging people to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours during the cold snap.

Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Andrew Gravells, said: “When the weather takes a turn for the worse, people need to look out for each other and check on their elderly neighbours. This is particularly important for those who don’t have family living nearby and that might be cut off in rural areas, but people in busy towns can feel isolated too.

“We would ask milkmen and postmen to check on people they know might need help on their rounds. It can be very lonely for people who can normally get out and about but who are temporarily housebound – just knowing that someone is there to help if necessary can remove a lot of worry and anxiety.”

If you have any concerns about an older or vulnerable person, contact the county council’s Adult Helpdesk on 01452 426868. For 24 hour health advice, NHS Direct can be contacted on 0845 46 47.

In St Mark’s in Cheltenham there was already a couple of inches of snow on the ground by 9am this morning.

Steven Blake, 63, said: “It’s very snowy up here where we are, and it’s coming down pretty hard.

“There are people trying to drive but they are struggling. I’m lucky that I can stay at home today. I’m certainly not going to take my car off the road.”

Meanwhile one of the county's biggest employers - Renishaw PLC decided to close all its premises because of the snow.

Stuck lorries caused tailbacks for motorists who braved the snowfall this morning in Stroud.

A blanket of snow continues to cover most major roads in the Five Valleys.

The A46 between Nailsworth and Stroud was partially blocked by articulated lorries at Inchbrook, Bath Road in Rodborough and Wallbridge.

Most drivers except those in 4x4’s turned off the A46 at Dudbridge rather than attempt to climb the hill to Golden Cross.

Wallbridge roundabout is passable, though some motorists are travelling the wrong way against the flow of traffic, to avoid stricken lorries.

Vehicles are queuing on Dr Newton’s Way but they are moving, slowly.

Stroud town centre’s streets are covered in snow, but delivery drivers and 4x4s continue to use them.

Some shops in Stroud town centre are closed for the day but most are open. The Shambles Market is open for business with most of the regular traders manning their stalls.

Parliament Street has been closed because of the snow.

Dozens of people have bought sledges from Trespass in Cheltenham High Street.

Customer assistant Daniel McShee said: “We are getting loads of people in buying sledges. We had already sold 15 by 10am. It has been very busy.”

Michael Reynolds, 30, and his partner Lisa Hart, 28, bought sledges from Trespass to take their daughter Lauren sledging.

Michael said: “We are going up Cleeve Hill. We want to make the most of the snow while it’s here.”

Tewkesbury town, borough and county councillor Vernon Smith said: “Roads are difficult and you need to be careful but they’re passable at the moment.

“It’s snowing very heavily now and so I imagine things will get difficult in the villages in the next couple of hours.

“I would have thought it will get nastier in the area as the day goes on.

“Everything is working and moving at the moment but I think conditions will be treacherous tonight.”

Despite the snow, Tewkesbury School is currently still open.

The lunch time flight from the Isle of Man to Gloucestershire Airport has been cancelled because of poor visibility.

No training flights have been planned for today because of poor weather.

Crew members are clearing highways, and hope flights to the Isle of Man will resume tonight as usual

Jon White, 34, is travelling from Brize Norton along the A40 towards Cheltenham. He had to get out of his vehicle to help push a car up the hill because it was sliding backwards.

He says he is travelling at a maximum speed of 20mph, and the road is covered in snow.

Tesco Express in Cheltenham town centre had a rush of customers “panic buying” yesterday to stock up ahead of the snow.

Customer assistant Carole Jeffree said: “Yesterday we had people panic buying. The ready meals shelves were empty and the bread and milk sections were empty too.

“The superstore sold out of various things yesterday too.

“We’ve got the usual amount of customers today so far. At the moment we are fully stocked. All our deliver drivers have been able to get here this morning.”

Cheltenham Borough Council’s staff are out in force spreading grit in the town centre.

Anthony Henshall was busy in the town centre. He said: “We’ve been at it since 6.30am. We have four crews of three gritters salting the town centre.”

Citizen Editor Ian Mean was travelling to Bristol this morning and called in with the following nupdate:

"I'm travelling down the M5 – it's good down to junction 12 but only two lanes are open.

"Thick snow now from Dursley junction 13.

"Travelling at 40 mph and seeing maniac lorry drivers pass me at way over 60 mph."

Waste collections in the Cotswolds have been suspended and Cotswold Leisure, Bourton will close at midday today.

Cotswold District Council says it will update its website throughout the day:

Cotswold District Council

Waste and recycling collections in Stroud District have also been cancelled today due to snow.

Householders are advised to leave out their waste and recycling.

If conditions improve the council says it will attempt to catch up on missed collections on Saturday and Monday.

If it hasn’t been collected by Monday residents are asked to take it back in and put it out for their next scheduled collection day.

Refuse and recycling rounds in Gloucester have also been suspended as a result of the heavy snow falls leading to treacherous road conditions.

Residents are advised to put their bins out again on Monday and the Council will aim to collect them by Wednesday.evening.

If continuing bad weather prevents staff catching up by then the bins should be taken back in until the next due collection.

If that happens, residents will be able to leave out up to four black bags of extra waste as well as any excess recycling in carrier bags only.

Waste collections in the Forest of Dean have been cancelled today. Here is a statement from the Forest of Dean District Council:

If you are due to have your FOOD WASTE and REFUSE collected today there will be NO collections. If conditions improve overnight, all collections will be made on Saturday 19 January.

If collections cannot take place on Saturday crews will return on Monday 21 January for refuse only.

Your next food waste collection will then take place on Friday 25 January.

Please ensure your containers are out by 7.30 am as catch up collections may be earlier or later in the day than your normal collection time.

If you are due have your FOOD WASTE, RECYCLING BOX and GARDEN WASTE collected today there will be NO collections.

If conditions improve overnight, all collections will be made on Saturday 19 January.

It is important that you put your containers out by 7.30am as catch up collections may be earlier or later in the day than your normal collection time.

If collections cannot take place on Saturday crews will not return until your next scheduled collection date.

If your GARDEN WASTE collection is due on Monday 21 January this service will be cancelled so that crews and vehicles can be used on catch up collections if there has been disruption to main services in other areas.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused but we have to put the safety of the public and the collection staff first.

A scheduled closure of Stroud High Street for resurfacing work will be postponed on Sunday 20th January because of the severe weather.

The pedestrianised section of the street was due to be closed on this date and Sunday 10th February to cause as little disruption as possible while heavy machinery is moved on to the site.

The closures is now scheduled to take place on Sunday 27th January and Sunday 10th February.

Resurfacing will take place on the days in between as scheduled. The closure will only affect the small number of vehicles permitted to use the pedestrian zone. Works will continue during the week using traffic management, with disruption kept to a minimum.

Travel update:

A number of roads in Gloucestershire have been closed due to heavy snow and police are urging drivers to not make unnecessary journeys.

Police have identified the following roads as hazardous, and motorists are urged to avoid them if at all possible:

• A419 Cowcombe Hill

• A419 Little Witcombe (Birdlip)

• A48 Alvington

• A435 Cirencester to Cheltenham

• A435 Charlton Kings to Seven Springs

• Unclassified Road - Toadsmoor Hill, Brimscombe

• Unclassified Road - Nailsworth to Minchinhampton

• Parliament Street, Stroud

• A4151 Littledean, Cinderford

• A429 Fossebridge

• A429 Stow Hill

• A436 Birdlip to Seven Springs

• A417 Crickley Hill

• A4173 Brookthorpe/Edge/Stroud

• A46 Stroud/Painswick/Brockworth

• B4362 Cleeve Hill

However, with the current conditions, Gloucestershire Highways would advise that any high level routes across the county and any routes with steeper inclines will be hazardous for some time and should only be attempted with extreme care. Travel advice for Gloucestershire is only to make journeys if they are absolutely necessary.

Stagecoach bus service latest:

Service 97/98 Gloucester to Hare & Hounds as normal then main road to Cheltenham.

Service 132 will not service

Service12 & 91 Gloucester to Cam only

Service 1 Gloucester to Matson Shops

Service 7 Gloucester to Finley Road Shops only, will not service Sapperton Road Service 10 Will only service Lower Tuffley as far as Epney Road Service 3 will follow service 4 route as far as Morrisons Service 9 Gloucester to St Barnabas only Service 5 Gloucester to Morrisons only Service 113 will not service

Services 24, 23, 33, 32, 30, 31, 36, 35, 44 are currently unable to operate

Follow @Thisisglos @GlosHighways, @GlosCC, @GlosFire and @Glos_Police on Twitter for updates.

Please use the comment facility to share the latest snow updates from your area with Gloucestershire.

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  • Judas  |  January 19 2013, 11:19AM

    Absolam - There have been a number of private sector companies that did not open on Friday. One can only assume that your words "....they can't even turn up for work when we have a drop of snow." applies to BOTH public and private sector work places?

    |   2
  • timmy0811  |  January 18 2013, 5:36PM

    Need to update my photo to animals and phone box's

  • timmy0811  |  January 18 2013, 5:33PM

    Pathetic website trolled by the same pathetic troll.

  • Absolam  |  January 18 2013, 5:30PM

    Typical of public sector workers to take the day off. Not content with their massive voluntary redundancy payments at 55 and their gold plated inflation proof pensions they can't even turn up for work when we have a drop of snow.

    |   -16
  • sammyb  |  January 18 2013, 3:38PM

    Well, it would appear that Icarus has had similar expulsions from the Gods today- not sun but snow! Guess that's what happens when taking such an extremist approach! I could wish you well Icarus, but I'd be comepltely ingenuine.

    |   -1
  • spindles12  |  January 18 2013, 3:34PM

    jbChelt, you say:-The ACTUAL reality is, every day of the week my wife will work 10 to 12 hour days, including weekends, travelling some 60 mile round trip to do so. It's the job she loves and wants to do. She works hard. Very hard" You go on to say that had your wife driven to school she could have risked herself in this atrocious weather but what about all the other days when there isn't any snow on the ground, don't you think she's risking herself then, or is it only when she would have been forced to go into school had it stayed open? If your wife works long hours and drives 60 miles every day then she would be tired and very likely to have an accident, either causing herself injury or someone else so because of travelling to her job she is putting herself at risk EVERY time she drives to school, not just when it snows. When you talk of 10-12 hours days is that the time she actually spends teaching the children and marking their work etc. or from when she leaves home to the time she arrives back home as 10 hours a day is what a lot of people do every day and they work in the private sector. I used to work at a secondary school and while there were good teachers who did after-school activities etc. there were others who couldn't wait to get away and were out and gone before the kids had even got on the buses. If teachers had free periods, instead of catching up on lessons or whatever they were supposed to be doing they would call into the office and say they were just popping out to the local supermarket or bank or wherever. In Service days, when children were forced to stay at home, saw teachers doing the "training" after school in the evening but still taking the In Service day off as well. There are lots of teachers who are dedicated, hard working individuals but if they enjoy their work they can't then complain about the long hours and hard work they have to do.

    |   -13
  • EllJay1  |  January 18 2013, 3:24PM

    bonzaharris1 - your comments are spot on. My son in law spent a total of six hours today, first of all trying to drive the thirty miles to work, then battling back home because the traffic was just not moving. Some people might say "why doesn't he live nearer work?". Well, you work where you can get a job, and I don't know many organisations that are prepared to pay new employees to relocate. House-moving, with all the associated fees, is very expensive.

    |   7
  • bonzaharris1  |  January 18 2013, 3:08PM

    When I was a kid in the sixties i remember having plenty of snow every year, and making the most of it up the hill sledging. In those days it was par for the course in winter, and people just got on with it. Then the climate seemed to change, and little snow fell for many years, in any quantity at least. Younger people these days have no experience of this sort of weather, or how to drive in it. I had a hideous experience a couple of years ago, a 25 minute journey taking two and half hours, it was a miracle I got home in one piece. As a result I will never put myself in that position again and drive in snow. Take that and with all the health and safetly laws which never existed years ago, plus the the compo culture, any excuse to sue the backside of someone some people will. Who can blame people for not taking the chance. At the end of the day, its your life your car your decision whether you risk making the journey to work or not. Some people can be very smug because "they" managed to battle their way in and get to work, where others didn't. Well thats fine, but If you don't have the confidence to drive in this weather, then stay at home, your lack of confidence could land you in hospital with broken bones, and possible life threatening injuries. The police have advised people not to make uneccessary journeys, so not to put extra strain on the emergency services. If you want to see how bad it it, then check the news, roads are closed, stretches of motorway closed, lorries jacknifed and plenty of accidents. Its right the schools are closed, risks should never be taken with childrens lives, not everyone teachers included live within walking distance of the school they attend.

    |   10
  • andypandy789  |  January 18 2013, 2:38PM

    JBchelt - couldn't have put it better myself. after I got to work today, the boss went round check everyone was alright and hilst yes, noting who was in, also noting that most would have a difficult journey home. We were all offered the opportunity to go if we thought we would struggle getting home. He came round more than once to make this opoint. Ultimately he would sooner have staff safely at home ready to come in on Monday than risking having an accident and not being in on Monday. No it's not the public sector but it is caring for your staff. How would we feel if the teachers had had accidents on their way to work (or way home) and then apart from the upset for them and their families, i am sure parents would then moan about the disruptions to their child's education from from having perhaps supply teachers etc to cover. Life is too short. We only are on this planet once (in my opinion) so at least when we have control over being safe let's do so.

    |   12
  • H1glos  |  January 18 2013, 2:38PM

    Icarus1 - teachers also pay tax or is that something else you are not aware but still like to talk about. Whatever it is you do for a living, you're not doing much of it today.

    |   5