Snow and Ice in Kent
9 February 2010, 18:54
Heavy snow and ice has forced over two hundred Kent schools to close and caused problems for people trying to get around.
A lot of the country suffered icy conditions overnight, but it was only Kent and East Sussex that saw significant amounts of snowfall.
Up to 10 centimetres (or 4 inches) of snow fell in parts of East Kent.
What chaos has the snow caused in Kent?
- More than 200 schools and nurseries in Kent are shut.
- Eurotunnel suspended all services for about 4 hours. Shuttle services are resuming with a limited service after an extensive snow clearing operation at the Folkestone terminal. Eurotunnel staff are continuing to clear access roads and ramps to ensure the safe flow of all vehicles to the shuttles.
- There are delays on Eurostar because of a problem this morning.
- Dover Coastguard sent four of its 4x4 vehicles to help stranded staff and patients to and from hospitals in Eastbourne and Hastings.
- Some trains run by operators Southeastern have been subject to 40 minute delays and cancellations because of the icy conditions.
- There have been treacherous driving conditions on main roads such as the A28 and A2.
- The on the M20 coast bound the exit slip road's been closed since the early hours of the morning, with all freight traffic using a diversion.
- Ferries from Dover have been running as normal but the Port of Dover has advised passengers to allow extra time to get to the port.
- Chief Inspector Simon Black, of Kent Police, said all main routes in the county are "passable with care" but some were down to a single lane. A police spokesman said:
"The advice for anyone travelling on the county's roads in the mid, north and west of the county is to allow extra time for their journey or use public transport. Those in the east and south of Kent are advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Motorists should check before setting out to establish road conditions and any delays."
Advice for coping in the bad weather
- If you do have to drive make sure you have full visibility before setting off, so allow time to de-mist and de-ice all windows.
- Poor weather conditions mean it can be harder for drivers to see, so use your lights.
- When the roads are wet and icy it can take twice as long to stop your vehicle, so slow down.
- In poor visibility be extra alert for hazards.
- Carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch in your vehicle in case weather conditions mean you have to stop.
- Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your journey before you set off.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has these tips for staying safe at home:
- If you plan to use an open fire, make sure your chimney is swept as built up soot and ash can cause chimney fires.
- Portable heaters should be dust free and kept well away from anything that could catch fire
- Candles should be placed on a non flammable surface and never be left unattended
- Now - more than ever - please take the time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours to make sure they are safe, well and free from fire risks.
- Snow and ice on the roads are causing dangerous driving conditions. Do not travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary.
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and test it.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has put in place practical plans to ensure its emergency response during this period of heavy snow. Operational staff and equipment, including vehicles with snow chains and off-road capability, are ready to respond to fires and other incidents.
Steve Griffiths, KFRS’s Assistant Director Community Safety said:
"Together with our partners we have put in place well-practised plans to maintain our emergency response for the county during this cold spell. However, although our plans are tried and tested, we would like to remind people not to ring us unnecessarily and that, because of the weather and road conditions; it may take fire appliances longer to reach some areas than usual."
What about Friday and the weekend?
The chilly weather will linger into the weekend but forecasters said the cold snap would not immediately be as severe as in December or January.
No more snow is forecast on Friday. It's looking cloudy in West Kent and some rain is due in the East.