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Snow and ice warnings issued across UK
March 09, 2018
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LONDON: Snow and ice continue to wreak havoc across the UK as ambulance services admitted they were struggling to respond to a surge in 999 emergency calls.

Forecasters from the Met Office predicted up to four inches of snow on some roads on Thursday morning and advised of delays to journey times.

Their yellow warning covered large parts of Wales, the Midlands, North West England, Yorkshire and The Humber, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Much of the lower ground will see little if any snow accumulating, but a patchy 1-3 cm is likely in some places, with 5 cm above 200 metres and possibly 10 cm on roads above 300 metres,” said the Met Office chief forecaster.

Hospital accident and emergency departments across Britain were already stretched because of recent bad weather.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said Wednesday was its “busiest day ever” with 5001 calls and both the Welsh Ambulance Service and the South East Coast Ambulance Service said they were prioritising the most serious cases.

“We would ask everyone to help us by calling 999 only in a genuine, life-threatening emergency,” the Welsh Ambulance Service said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It may take longer for us to get to some patients with less serious conditions than we would like.” West Midlands Ambulance Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “It is a huge concern that so many people have seemingly ignored other NHS services and felt the need to dial 999.

“An increase in cases due to the snow was expected but the fact that call numbers have spiked upwards so sharply since that period is very worrying.”

Meanwhile, burst water pipes were still causing new disruptions into Thursday morning despite claims that the supply had been restored to most customers.

Thames Water is battling to restore water to Herne Hill in southeast London and the area around Uxbridge Road in west London.

South East Water said they had restored services to 17,000 properties but warned that “supplies may be intermittent in parts of Kent and Sussex for the coming days while we continue to find and fix further leaks.”

Welsh Water, Affinity Water and Southern Water are also facing criticism and UK government ministers have announced a review into the apparent failure to prepare for bad weather.

The Independent

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