Hundreds of schools closed and travel disruption as heavy snow falls across Calendar region

  • Travel disruption across Sheffield.


Hundreds of schools have been closed today as parts of Yorkshire were blanketed with snow, with the possibility of a Beast from the East 2 in the middle of next week.

The Met Office has issued a Yellow weather warning for ice across our region until 10am tomorrow morning. As sleet and snow dies out this evening, it will leave a risk of icy surfaces and difficult travel conditions.

Today snowfall has reached up to 10 centimetres on ground above 200 metres, with up to 20 centimetres of snow falling on the highest parts of the region.


SCHOOL CLOSURES

Bradford

In Bradford, there are currently more than 160 schools closed.

Check if your school is closed, here.

Leeds

Around 60 schools are closed in Leeds, including Park Spring Primary School, Middleton Primary School and Leeds City Academy.

Check if your school is closed, here.

Calderdale

Around 50 schools are closed across Calderdale, including Bowling Green Academy, Bradshaw Primary School and Field lane Primary School.

Check if your school is closed, here.

Kirklees

Birkby Junior School, Kirkheaton Primary School and Engage Academy and among 87 schools closed in Kirklees.

Check if your school is closed, here.

North Yorkshire

A total of 56 schools are closed across North Yorkshire, including Trinity Academy Eppleby Forcett, St Hilda’s CE VC Primary Ampleforth, Melsonby Primary School and Springwater School.

Check if your school is closed, here.

Barnsley

According to Barnsley Council, there are 32 schools closed in the area.

Check if your school is closed, here.

York

Check if your school is closed, here.

East Yorkshire

Check if your school is closed, here.

Rotherham

Sheffield

Around 15 schools are closed in Sheffield. For more information, visit Sheffield City Council's Twitter page.


TRAVEL DISRUPTION - ROADS

Yorkshire Ambulance Service says the heavy snow has been causing difficulties throughout the day, with a high demand for emergency ambulances.

Mark Millins, Strategic Commander at the Trust, said:

Due to the very snowy conditions across West, South and North Yorkshire, driving conditions are very difficult and many roads are gridlocked so this is having a severe impact on our operations. We are implementing a number of actions in order to protect our core services for patients and respond to the ongoing demand, including increasing our 4x4 capacity.

Mark Millins, Yorkshire Ambulance Service

He added: "We are asking members of the public to only call us in a serious or life-threatening emergency to help us focus our efforts on our most poorly patients.

"Our dedicated staff are working extremely hard to reach patients as quickly and safely as possible but, understandably, the hazardous driving conditions and blocked roads mean that it is taking us longer than normal in the worst-hit areas."

North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police has issued a warning on Twitter for motorists in Skipton and Craven to only drive if it is essential.

Gritters have been out unblocking Sutton Bank today.

Lead Lane from Blakey Ridge to Young Ralph’s Cross is closed.

Police say there have been a number of incidents on the A66 in North Yorkshire today.

The A59 both ways has been blocked today due to snow around Hardisty Hill in North Yorkshire, with multiple vehicles stuck in the snow around this area.

Visit the council's website for the latest updates on the roads across North Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire

In Halifax, this bus driver managed to bring their bus under control after it slid down the road. Luckily, no-one was injured.

We spoke to Scott Downsborough, who filmed the incident:

The fire service warned of 'treacherous driving conditions' in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police has issued a statement, asking people only to call if the matter is urgent.

Superintendent Chris Bowen of West Yorkshire Police Operational Support, said:

We are experiencing a much higher volume of non-emergency calls to the force than normal with weather related calls significantly increasing demand.  Between 11am and 12pm today the force took in excess of three hundred 101 and 999 calls.

Superintendent Chris Bowen, West Yorkshire Police

He added: "Normally we would take around 200 in this time period so we are asking residents to please consider if non-emergency or non-urgent calls they may be considering can be postponed."

According to police, there has been a number of collisions in West Yorkshire, this was the M62 Eastbound between junction 22 and 23 this morning.

Highways England says gritters are working 'flat out' on the M621 in Leeds.

In Kirklees, the gritters were loading early this morning to make the roads safer. The council is urging motorists to take care and to only go out if your journey is essential.

In Leeds, refuse collections have been stood down for the remainder of the day due to 'unsafe driving and walking conditions'.

In a statement, Leeds City Council said: "Those residents who didn’t get their bins emptied today are advised to put their bins out again for a planned Sunday collection, when crews will try to collect as many missed bins as possible.

"Also closing early today are all Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Residents with a slot booked today are advised to please rebook. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but the decision has been made in the interests of customer and staff safety and also following Police travel advice.  

"Leeds City Council staff will be continuing to work throughout the day to ensure that primary routes in the city and areas around key facilities such as vaccination centres continue to be gritted."

Derbyshire

Our reporter Martin Fisher has been in North Derbyshire today:

South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police is urging people to only travel if essential, with warnings that Low Road in Conisbrough is gridlocked from the traffic lights at Sheffield Road to junction of Doncaster Road.


TRAVEL DISRUPTION - BUSES

In West Yorkshire, School buses will not operate on Friday 15 January following the heavy snowfall which has caused significant disruption to all services.

In a statement, a West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesman said:

We and our operator partners do not take these decisions lightly. Given the very small number of students using school buses during the current national lockdown, uncertainty over which schools will be open and the need to ensure the safety of young people and of drivers we consider this to be the right course of action.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesman

People across South Yorkshire are being advised to check before they travel, with a number of services cancelled.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s Director of Transport Operations, Pat Beijer, said:

Snowfall is affecting bus, tram and rail services in some areas. In severe weather, public transport could be subject to short notice changes. While every effort is made to keep disruption to a minimum, where it is safe to do so, we’re encouraging passengers to take extra care, check for updates and plan their journey before they travel.

Pat Beijer, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s Director of Transport Operations

All buses in West Yorkshire, except the 590/592 ex Hebden Bridge, have been suspended for the rest of the day "on the grounds of safety".

In a statement, First Bus said: "Due to the impact of today’s extreme weather, all West Yorkshire services (except 590/592 ex Hebden Bridge) are suspended for the rest of the day on the grounds of safety. Our depot teams are working hard to return drivers and buses and prepare for full service tomorrow. We're very sorry for any inconvenience."


VACCINATIONS

Bradford

Bradford Royal Infirmary has now closed its vaccination centre for the day and will be opening at midday tomorrow.

On the hospital's website, the trust says: "Due to today’s severe weather, the Vaccination Centre at BRI is closing at 4pm today and re-opening at 12pm tomorrow (Friday 15 Jan).

"For staff or health care professionals with an appointment booked after 4pm today or before 12pm tomorrow, please do not attend.

"Your appointment will be cancelled and you can re-arrange via your confirmation email."

Leeds

Dr Phil Wood from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says vaccinations are still going ahead as planned today, but urged people only to head out for their jab if they feel safe to do so. He says, "appointments can be rescheduled".

Sheffield

Sheffield Council is urging people to take care when venturing out to get a Covid-19 vaccine today.

The Healthcare Surgery, Palgrave has cancelled all vaccinations for this afternoon.

Doncaster

In Doncaster, vaccination centres remain open today despite the snow.

Keighley

In Keighley local farmer, Jan Feather, has has towed a delivery van to ensure vaccines are delivered to care home residents.

Calderdale

Safety wardens are based outside Boots in Halifax today, supporting people going for the Covid-19 jabs.

All our vaccination centres that were due to deliver vaccines today continue to be open for patients who have an appointment. People are being advised to only travel to have a vaccine is they feel safe and confident in doing so.

The council has issued the following statement:

Ahead of the forecast snow, the Council and NHS Calderdale CCG worked together to ensure that routes to all GP practices in Calderdale, including those administering coronavirus jabs, are accessible to people and vehicles during this anticipated spell of bad weather. People who need help to attend their vaccination appointments are being supported and are being asked to take extra care.

Calderdale Council

Adding: "As vaccines have started at Boots in Halifax from today, Community Safety Wardens from the Council have been based outside the store since 6am, supporting people going for their jab. Teams have also been gritting in the area to keep the pavements as safe as possible."


WEATHER FORECAST

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: "By Thursday afternoon we could be looking at the risk of snow across many parts of northern England."

Mr Burkill said that rainfall would "go some way to preventing much snow lying" elsewhere through Thursday in particular.

"For northern England we could be looking at around 15cm, perhaps 20cm by the end of Thursday over the highest routes," he said.

Dunford Bridge in the snow Credit: @DunfordBridge

Further wintry weather is forecast to arrive on Saturday, and that "could bring heavy rain and also some significant snow particularly for central parts of England".

It is possible temperatures will plunge further next week, Mr Burkill said, and there is "very much a possibility" of a Beast from the East 2 in the "middle of next week".

Snow has forced RHS Garden Harlow to close to visitors Credit: RHS/ Neil Hepworth

The first Beast from the East, the name given to the significant snowfall in February 2018, happened when a sudden stratospheric warming event sent freezing winds from Siberia.

Mr Burkill said that for such weather to occur next week, "what we'd need is a blocking area of high pressure, particularly to the north of the UK, and that would then drag in that cold easterly wind".

"There are some signs that we could get something similar to that during the middle part of next week so that's what we're looking out for," he said.

"It's too early to say with any confidence, however there are some signs.

"Some models are suggesting we could get cold air coming from the east, north-east which at this time of year is very cold indeed, but it's by no means a guarantee."


Snow across the region

This brave runner in Sheffield wasn't going to let a bit of snow stop her from exercising today. She chose to head out barefoot!

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been forced to close RHS Garden Harlow Carr due to heavy snowfall.

In a statement RHS Garden Harlow Carr said:

We understand the frustration and disappointment this causes visitors, however, this decision was taken to ensure the safety of everyone at the garden. We are currently doing everything we can to clear the garden and car parks and will reopen the garden as soon as we can.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Credit: RHS/ Neil Hepworth