Heavy snow and blizzard conditions

The Met Office has issued a red warning – its highest possible warning level – for snow for parts of the South West.

Between 3pm this afternoon and 2am tomorrow, a spell of heavy snow and blizzard conditions is expected.

And Highways England are urging people to keep off the roads from 8pm tonight until 2am tomorrow due to the chance of freezing rain.

In the Greater Bristol area, there is an Amber Warning. The Met Office says: “A spell of heavy snow is expected. The snow will be accompanied by very strong easterly winds leading to blizzards and considerable drifting. From Thursday evening some places could also see ice build up due to freezing rain.

“Long delays and cancellations of public transport seem very likely. Some roads may become blocked by deep snow, stranding vehicles and passengers. Long interruptions to power supplies and other utilities are likely to occur, along with possible damage to trees and other structures due to heavy snow or ice.”

There is also a yellow warning in place for Saturday for ice.

Many schools and colleges across our area were shut or closed early today.

South Glos Council says that despite teams out spreading salt on priority roads and pedestrian areas, much of the 1,000 miles of roads and paths the district are not treated: “Even after salting, roads can still remain hazardous so please be careful.”

B&NES Council says all roads are currently open and traffic is moving normally but there is evidence of snow settling on some side roads and heavier snow is expected as the day goes on. Council offices in the district closed early, as did recycling centres and libraries.

Bristol City Council says all priority routes will be gritted but urges people to drive carefully.

Late this afternoon First bus said: “As the weather is increasing in severity. We are urging all customers to make travel arrangements home asap. We’ll run as many services as possible, but safety of our staff/customers/other road users is paramount and we’re already being forced to suspend some services.”

Watch the scenes in Tesco in Keynsham today where the tills went down, leaving people keen to stock up on supplies queuing round the shop!