West Norfolk’s emergency services have had a busy few days after the area has been hit by the some of the most severe wintry weather in the country.
Weather stations at RAF Marham recorded temperatures dropping to -12C last night (Wednesday, January 16) and nine cms of snow falling on Monday and Tuesday.
The Met Office is expecting more snow tomorrow (Friday) and a cold weekend ahead.
Head of Lynn police, Supt Dave Marshall is warning motorists to drive sensibly.
He said: “We’ve had many more road collisions to respond to than normal, but have still managed to carry out our routine policing.
“Luckily the majority of the incidents are minor ones resulting in only minor injuries.
“It is disappointing that we are still seeing people not taking sensible precautions when on the roads.
“In winter weather, driving conditions can deteriorate fast, making driving hazardous. So we’d urge drivers to drive sensibly and be aware of the road condition.”
Police and crime commissioner Stephen Bett has cancelled a public consultation due to be held at Wymondham tonight (Thursday).
Ambulance crews in West Norfolk received 68 and 76 emergency calls on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A spokesman said: “A lot of the roads are now icy so crews are having to take it steady in order reach patients safely.
“We’re also preparing for further snow tomorrow with extra resources and working alongside hospitals and the Highways Agency to make sure that patients get the best care possible.
“What I will add is that we’re starting to see an increase in falls in the icy weather so we would recommend people wear sensible footwear and take it steady whilst they’re out and about.”
The weather has not caused any staffing problems for Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
A hospital spokesman said: “It’s very much ‘business as usual’ here, despite the cold weather.
“We have had a slow but steady stream of people in Accident and Emergency with weather-related injuries - mainly slips and falls on the ice, with resulting fractured wrists, hips, arms and legs, but really not much more than we normally have.
“Luckily, most people appear to be exercising commendable caution while they’re out driving or walking.”
Norfolk County Council’s gritters are due to head out five times today.
Karl Rands, area manager for the west, said: “Our gritters have been out twice this morning to treat the priority roads in West Norfolk and across the county as a whole.
“They have finished another run which is targeting other important routes which includes c class roads.
“A new crew will be out gritting early this afternoon, again in time for the evening rush hour and then again later tonight.
“We are satisfied with our gritting programme and will continue with it unless forecasts indicate that something different needs to be implemented, and we will therefore respond to that. Exactly how and when we respond will depend upon the daily forecasts from our specialist forecaster which we receive around lunchtime.
“We have enough salt to continue with our current gritting programme; the salt domes across the county are currently receiving salt from our salt provider.
“The salt levels are continuously monitored so we always ensure we have a sufficient amount.
“Our salt providers are also aware of when they need to supply us with more salt and we are in regular contact with them at times such as this when the winter weather arrives.”
Norfolk Fire and Rescue’s group manager Stuart Horth is also urging drivers to take care following a difficult week.
He said: “We were particularly busy on Tuesday with a spate of road traffic collisions during the afternoon. Since then it has been steady and our crews have managed to get everywhere they have been needed.
“With more bad weather possible over the coming days we would urge people to please take care on the roads and drive to the conditions. Please take heed of advice such as making sure windows and mirrors are clear, wipers are working, the battery is charged, tyre pressure is checked.
“During the cold snap we would also urge caution when using candles and when lighting fires or woodburners. We would urge particular caution around the use of portable heaters. People can get these out in the cold weather and if you have to use one please make sure they are kept well away from anything flammable, you don’t dry clothes on them and if you are using a gas one you have a carbon monoxide alarm.”
A total of 50 schools, including several Lynn primary schools have closed due to the weather over the last few days.
The town’s Springwood High School remained open and headteacher Andy Johnson has thanked the staff.
He said the two main factors in staying open were having sufficient staff to supervise children and if the site was safe to walk around, adding: “I would like to thank the site team.”
King Edward VII School has also continued to operate during the cold snap.
Headteacher Mike Douglass said: “Each school has to make its own decision on the conditions on its site.
“My colleagues and site staff have done an excellent job in clearing the school.”
Dust carts were unable to reach St Edmundsbury, Beagley Court and Rainsthorpe in Lynn and Earsham Drive in South Wootton today. Crews will be attempting to catch up with collections in the villages surrounding Lynn, Downham and Hunstanton.
The Lynn W H Smith store has been closed.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that our store in Kings Lynn is temporarily closed as a result of a leak from an air conditioning unit.
“We apologise to all of our customers for any inconvenience caused.”