Ice worry as temperatures drop on snowy roads in Wales

Some hospitals are appealing to off-duty staff to work if they can

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Drivers are being warned to stay off the roads after thick snowfall in Wales freezes as temperatures plunge.

Many motorists seemed to heed warnings on Saturday to travel only if necessary as up to 20cm (8in) fell in some areas.

But breakdown services said Wales was still one of their busiest areas, with abandoned cars adding to disruption.

There were widespread icy roads as forecasters predicted temperatures as low as minus 10C (14F) overnight.

Major routes in Wales were open on Saturday but stretches of the M4 remained treacherous throughout the day and the A470 near Merthyr Tyffil was all but impassable earlier.

The assembly goverment has invoked its 24-hour "snow desk", but says it has enough road salt with more stock due in a week.

The snowfall led a number of health officials to ask drivers with 4x4 vehicles to help take health workers in after many were stuck at home.

Overturned car This car overturned on Penglais hill in Aberystwyth

The University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, Univerrsity Hospital Llandough, Royal Glamorgan at Llantrisant, Prince Charles in Merthyr and Ysbyty Gwynedd Bangor all asked off-duty staff to come in if possible to relieve colleagues.

On one floor of Nevill Hall hospital in Abergavenny, at least seven workers stayed overnight.

The Loughor and Rhossili coastguard rescue teams took seven key medical staff, including two midwives, to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, and a duty doctor from Aberystwyth was taken to Dolgellau Hospital.

Bus company First Cymru cancelled many services across south and west Wales, and National Express services from Swansea were also suspended.

The A487 between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth was closed to all vehicles, there was a foot of snow on the A44 from Aberystwyth and Llangurig, and the A484 from Cardigan to Newcastle Emlyn was described as passable only in 4x4 vehicles and with extreme care.

Sporting fixtures have fallen victim, with Monday's fixture at the Ffos Las racecourse in Carmarthenshire already called off.

The Cardiff City Championship home game against Burnley was off, but the Swansea City away game against Sheffield United went ahead, although the visitors lost 1-0.

Gated parks and cemeteries in Cardiff closed on Saturday although city centre Winter Wonderland near the City Hall reopened at midday.

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