Care homes are on stand-by for heavy snow and disruption as Met Office announces a Red Warning for south Wales and western England. The Met Office has predicted that many parts of the Red Warning area are likely to have 20-30 cm of snow with strong south-easterly winds causing blizzards, severe drifting of lying snow and thus severe disruption. As part of their warning, forecasters have advised that the public should avoid all non-essential journeys.
Whilst low temperatures typically pose the most immediate risks to both the very young and the elderly, the biggest risk to care homes lies not in the low temperatures, but in the inability of staff being able to get to work. This is followed by the inability of emergency services to attend care homes in times of emergency.
The heaviest snowfall is predicted to fall on Heads of the Valleys and Brecon Beacons areas of south Wales. These areas have low density population centres. Care homes, however, are typically located within small towns and villages where roads are more likely to be kept clear and gritted.
Some precautionary measures have been announced such as the plans to close mountain roads in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) from 22:00 GMT on Thursday night. The three currently scheduled to close include the Rhigos, Bwlch and Maerdy roads.
A spokeswoman for RCT informed the BBC: “This snow is expected to be particularly severe between 3am and 9am and is likely to lead to widespread accumulations of four inches with six-eight inches over higher ground.”
Councils across Wales say they are prepared, with road grit levels remaining high after record stocks. There are more than 200,000 tonnes in stock after Wales began the winter with a record 243,000 tonnes and relatively little has been used since.
Cardiff council said just under half of its 600-mile network of roads will be gritted. Several cycle routes will also be treated.