Drivers seek shelter overnight after cars left stranded in snow on A39
Dozens of motorists were forced to abandon their cars and seek shelter after their vehicles became stranded in heavy snow drifts on the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton last night.
The vehicles got stuck at around midnight, and around 30 people were forced to spend the night at the fire station and village hall in Nether Stowey.
Somerset County Council has praised its civil contingencies unit officers, the emergency services and village volunteers for their efforts in rescuing the drivers.
It also said gritters will be using double the usual amount of salt when it treats the county's network of roads tonight.
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Deputy leader David Hall said: “It has been a difficult time for everyone, but it has seen excellent efforts by our staff and contractors, partner agencies, volunteers and the public in keeping Somerset moving.
“Many of the roads are clear of snow, but I would ask everyone to be extremely careful if the county ices over.”
The council said its fleet of 23 gritters circled the 900 miles of high priority roads with salt, and later concentrated on a further 500 miles – about a third of the county network in total.
Agricultural contractors also helped with snow ploughing duties, while 4x4 drivers across the county helped to rescue fellow motorists.
Volunteer drivers from Wessex 4x4 have been helping adult social care staff reach vulnerable people.
Fallen trees and abandoned vehicles have also hampered driving, with hills in the Taunton Deane, Mendip and West Somerset areas worst affected.
Around 120 schools and children’s centres reported full or partial closures today due to the snow and ice. Some schools opened purely to allow students to take GCSE exams.