Somerset volunteers thanked for snow help as ice warnings issued
Volunteers and staff helping keep Somerset on the move have been thanked for their efforts in the snow.
Gritter crews have been working around the clock in snow-affected areas of Somerset since nearly six inches fell in 24 hours.
Double the usual amount of salt will be used to treat roads tonight as ice is expected to become a concern on Thursday with freezing temperatures overnight replacing the flurries which had largely stopped by lunchtime today.
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."
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Other councils have been helping Highways clear and salt pavements, particularly in Taunton Deane and South Somerset, along with Yeovil Town Council. Thirty stranded people were sheltered in Nether Stowey overnight when they became stuck on the A39 about midnight.
They took refuge, first at the fire station and later the village hall, thanks to the efforts of County Council Civil Contingencies Unit officers, the emergency services and volunteers.
From Tuesday afternoon, the fleet of 23 Somerset County Council 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, and 4x4 drivers across the county lent a hand to fellow motorists.
Volunteers drivers from Wessex 4x4 have been helping adult social care staff reach vulnerable people. Fallen trees and abandoned vehicles also hampered driving, hills in Taunton Deane, Mendip and West Somerset the worst affected. About 120 schools and children's centres reported full or part closures. Some schools opened purely to allow students to take GCSE exams.