Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire schools web crash: Council apologises

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Media captionThe Met Office have issued an amber weather warning for Herefordshire

Parents have received an apology from Worcestershire County Council after the authority's school closures website crashed for an hour.

Councillor David Thain said: "It went down at the worst possible time and I have to apologise to people who rely on it to find out if a school is open."

He said the website had "struggled to cope" with demand at 07.45 GMT.

More than 280 schools in Herefordshire and Worcestershire were closed because of snow.

First Group said nine bus services through the two counties had been cancelled or disrupted because of snow.

Tractors help HGVs

Herefordshire Council said it had 15 gritters working to treat more than 500 miles of roads in the county.

Clive Hall, from the council, said: "As well as treating the priority routes, we have been working closely with local farmers and contractors who provide snow clearance services on minor roads and rural routes to help ensure that we can keep as many areas as possible safe and moving."

The council said it also had a network of community groups gritting roads in their villages and parishes.

Image caption Countryside Ranger have used tractors to help HGVs up Dinmore Hill in Herefordshire

Countryside rangers from Queenswood Country Park have been using a tractor to help lorries up Dinmore Hill on the A49 in Herefordshire.

James Bissett, one of the rangers, said: "It's the HGVs and Transits that are struggling, so we are here to help things along.

"Some extra traction from our tractor can be all the help they need - once they get moving again they are fine."

Tonia Bowkett, who runs a cafe at the top of Fromes Hill on a A4103 in Herefordshire, said traffic was still getting up the hill, although a lorry had jackknifed earlier.

"The snow is falling thicker and faster now and the wind has got up so it's more like a blizzard," she said.

'Like an ice rink'

James Tobin, from Hereford, said the town had seen 2in (5cm) of snow in the morning.

Image caption Community teams have been out gritting pavements and roads

"It's been constant since the early hours and it's not calming down," he said.

"The problem is the wind which is picking up the snow drifting it in the air.

"Driving conditions are tricky where I am because snow is literally being compacted by vehicles and if it gets any colder it'll be like an ice rink."

Hereford United's game against Dartford has been called off due to the weather.

The opening night of a pantomime has been cancelled after water from melting snow got into the stage electrics at the Swan Theatre in Worcester.

Worcestershire County Council said gritting teams had been out since Thursday and were working "around the clock" to clear routes.

John Slater, from the council, said: "We're using double the amount of salt we normally do but sometimes it doesn't matter how much salt you throw down on the road.

"If you're going to get three or four inches of snow it's still going to cause big problems and the general advice is don't travel unless you have to."

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